—Lacustrine sediments, related subaerial aeolian sands, as well as fluvioglacial sands enclosed in ablation moraines in the Chuya River valley between the Chuya and Kurai basins in Gorny Altai, have been dated by optically stimulated (OSL) and infrared stimulated (IRSL) luminescence. The OSL and IRSL ages indicate that the formation of the lake, which spread into the Chuya Basin, was caused by the Sukor rockslide that dammed the Chuya Valley. The rockslide was triggered by a large earthquake (shaking intensity at least IX-X) generated by an active fault in the Kurai Fault Zone about 16 ka, which is the oldest known date for its activity. Thus, large landslides or rockslides can remain geomorphically expressed for at least 16 ka in the climate and landscape conditions as in the Chuya and Kurai basins. The lake existed till ~10 ka BP and then was gradually drained. The Kuyuktanar glacier reached its greatest extent in the early marine isotope stage (MIS) 2, and its ablation moraines formed about 25 ka. Judging by the age and good preservation of moraines left by the glacier, the hilly terrain in the area of the Sukor rockslide, and the presence of lacustrine sands in the vicinity of the lake dam, no catastrophic flooding events in the Chuya and Katun valleys have occurred since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; ~20 kyr BP). The water table of the glacier-dammed lake that occupied the Kurai Basin around the LGM could not have exceeded 1750 m above sea level (a.s.l.). Higher lake terraces traceable till elevations of 2100–2200 m a.s.l. should be attributed to more ancient lake stages. Archaeological sites in the area of the junction between the Chuya and Kurai basins were formed in the post-lake period, the oldest dating back to the latest Late Paleolithic time.

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