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Keywords:

  • late-glacial reversal;
  • last termination;
  • Tropics;
  • cosmogenic helium-3;
  • glaciers

Abstract

The occurrence of pronounced climate reversals during the last glacial termination has long been recognised in palaeoclimate records from both hemispheres and from high to low latitudes. Accurate constraint of both the timing and magnitude of events, such as the Younger Dryas and Antarctic Cold Reversal, is vital in order to test different hypotheses for the causes and propagation of abrupt climate change. However, in contrast to higher-latitude regions, well-dated records from the Tropics are rare and the structure of late-glacial tropical climate remains uncertain. As a step toward addressing this problem, we present an in situ cosmogenic 3He surface exposure chronology from Nevado Coropuna, southern Peru, documenting a significant fluctuation of the ice margin during the late-glacial period. Ten tightly clustered ages from a pair of moraines located halfway between the modern glacier and the Last Glacial Maximum terminus range from 11.9 to 13.9 ka and give an arithmetic mean age of 12.8 ± 0.7 ka (1σ). These data constitute direct evidence for a readvance, or prolonged stillstand, of glaciers in the arid Andes of southwestern Peru. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.