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Late Pleistocene snowline fluctuations at Nevado Coropuna (15°S), southern Peruvian Andes

Authors

  • Gordon R.M. Bromley,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Earth Sciences and the Climate Change Institute, Edward T. Bryand Global Sciences Center, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5790, USA
    • 437 Comer Geochemistry, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY 10964-8000, USA.
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  • Brenda L. Hall,

    1. Department of Earth Sciences and the Climate Change Institute, Edward T. Bryand Global Sciences Center, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5790, USA
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  • Kurt M. Rademaker,

    1. Department of Earth Sciences and the Climate Change Institute, Edward T. Bryand Global Sciences Center, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5790, USA
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  • Claire E. Todd,

    1. Department of Geological Sciences, Rieke Science Center, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA 98447, USA
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  • Adina E. Racovteanu

    1. Department of Geography and Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
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Abstract

Deposits preserved on peaks in the southern Peruvian Andes are evidence for past glacial fluctuations and, therefore, serve as a record of both the timing and magnitude of past climate change. Moraines corresponding to the last major expansion of ice on Nevado Coropuna date to 20-25 ka, during the last glacial maximum. We reconstructed the snowline at Coropuna for this period using a combined geomorphic-numeric approach to provide a first-order estimate of the magnitude of late-Pleistocene climate change. Our reconstructions show that snowline was approximately 550-770 m lower during the last glacial maximum than during the late Holocene maximum, which ended in the 19th century, and ∼750 m lower than today. While these values are similar to data from nearby Nevado Solimana, reconstructions from the neighbouring peak of Nevado Firura reveal a smaller snowline depression, suggesting the glacial response to climate forcing in the tropics is strongly influenced by non-climatic factors. These data constitute some of the first directly dated palaeo-snowline data from the arid tropics and suggest that the magnitude of the last glaciation in at least parts of the tropical Andes was similar to late-Pleistocene events at higher latitudes. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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