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Title: Late Pleistocene glaciers and climate in the High Atlas, North Africa
Authors: Hughes, PD
Fink, D
Fletcher, WJ
Keywords: Mountains
Climatic change
Age estimation
Issue Date: 7-Apr-2020
Publisher: GeoScienceWorld
Citation: Hughes, P. D., Fink, D., & Fletcher, W. J. (2020). Late Pleistocene glaciers and climate in the High Atlas, North Africa. In Waitt, R. B., Thackray, G. D., & Gillespie, A. R. (eds). Untangling the Quaternary Period—A Legacy of Stephen C. Porter. Geological Society of America, GSA Special Papers, (Vol. 548, pp. 155-174): Geological Society of America. doi:10.1130/2020.2548(08)
Abstract: Extensive glaciers covered the High Atlas mountains in Morocco during the late Pleistocene. On the northern escarpments of the Marrakech High Atlas, a series of cirques perched at ~3000–3500 m above sea level (asl) fed their valley glaciers that, in some cases, extended to as low as 2000 m asl. Cosmogenic exposure dating with 10Be and 36Cl has shown that at least three phases of glaciation are preserved in glacial deposits over the last glacial cycle at 50, 22, and 12 ka, which appear to correlate with marine isotope stage (MIS) 3, the global Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), and the Younger Dryas chronozone. This geochronological framework is sufficiently robust to allow for time-constrained glacier-climate reconstructions. The glaciers associated with these three phases of advance had equilibrium line altitudes (ELAs) of 2761 m asl (ca. 50 ka), 2919 m asl (ca. 22 ka), and 3213 m asl (ca. 12 ka). Glacier-climate modeling suggests that all of these phases were driven by both colder temperatures and wetter conditions than today. The dominant moisture supply to these glaciers in all phases would have been sourced from Atlantic depressions. The influence of an extended and enhanced West African monsoon on glacier development during African Humid Periods is unlikely to have been a significant influence on glacier dynamics. The climate conditions associated with the three glacier phases indicate sustained moisture supply to the highest mountain areas when records from other areas, such as the Middle Atlas lakes and marine sediment cores offshore, indicate marked aridity. © 2020 The Geological Society of America
ISBN: 9780813795485
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