Abstract

Volcanic strata in the Skaftafell region, southeast Iceland, record a sequence of at least 16 glacial and interglacial intervals since 5 Ma. Two composite sections of 2 to 2.8 km thickness have been constructed from multiple, overlapping, cliff profiles. The timing of alternating sequences of subaerial lava flows, pillow basalts, and hyaloclastite deposits is provided by magnetostratigraphic mapping and K-Ar radiometric dating. We find that the frequency and intensity of glaciations increased significantly at ca. 2.6 Ma, and particularly since 0.8 Ma, amplifying topographic relief in this area from <100 m to ∼2 km. These changes correlate with increases in global ice volume, ice-rafted debris, and development from local to regional glacial conditions in the North Atlantic.

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