Abstract

Reconstructions of late Weichselian glacier coverage on the continental shelves of the Russian Arctic range from a large ice sheet terminating in northern Siberia to isolated ice caps restricted to Arctic archipelagos. This disparity in glacier reconstructions reflects the lack of chronological control on glacial and deglacial landforms. We present new Holocene relative sea-level data from Franz Josef Land and northern Novaya Zemlya, Russia, that place the thickest glacier loads in the northern Barents Sea and not over Novaya Zemlya. Radiocarbon ages from shelf and terrestrial areas at the former ice-sheet margin support deglaciation of the northern Barents Sea between 13.0 and 10.3 ka, considerably later than inferred from isotopic records for the Arctic Ocean. This analysis indicates that the Barents Sea ice sheet was a dominant sea-level reservoir in northern Eurasia, and that glacier loading of Novaya Zemlya was comparatively limited during the last glaciation.

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