Abstract

We present a new glacial chronology demonstrating asynchroneity between advances of Himalayan glaciers and Northern Hemisphere ice-sheet volumes. Glaciers at Nanga Parbat expanded during the early to middle Holocene ca. 9.0–5.5 ka. No major advances at Nanga Parbat during the last global glacial stage of marine oxygen isotope stage 2 (MIS-2) between 24 and 11 ka were identified. Preliminary evidence also indicates advances between ca. 60 and 30 ka. These periods of high ice volume coincide with warm, wet regional climates dominated by a strong southwest Asian summer monsoon. The general lack of deposits dating from MIS-2 suggests that Nanga Parbat was too arid to support expanded ice during this period of low monsoon intensity. Advances during warm, wet periods are possible for the high-altitude summer accumulation glaciers typical of the Himalayas, and explain asynchronous behavior. However, the Holocene advances at Nanga Parbat appear to have been forced by an abrupt drop in temperature ca. 8.4–8.0 ka and an increase in winter precipitation ca. 7–5.5 ka. These results highlight the overall sensitivity of Himalayan glaciation to orbital forcing of monsoon intensity, and on millennial or shorter time scales, to changes in North Atlantic circulation.

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