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Keywords:

  • Alaska;
  • Brooks Range;
  • Neoglaciation;
  • 10Be dating

Abstract

We present a chronology of late Pleistocene deglaciation and Neoglaciation for two valleys in the north-central Brooks Range, Alaska, using cosmogenic 10Be exposure dating. The two valleys show evidence of ice retreat from the northern range front before ∼16–15 ka, and into individual cirques by ∼14 ka. There is no evidence for a standstill or re-advance during the Lateglacial period, indicating that a glacier advance during the Younger Dryas, if any, was less extensive than during the Neoglaciation. The maximum glacier expansion during the Neoglacial is delimited by moraines in two cirques separated by about 200 km and dated to 4.6 ± 0.5 and 2.7 ± 0.2 cal ka BP. Both moraine ages agree with previously published lichen-inferred ages, and confirm that glaciers in the Brooks Range experienced multiple advances of similar magnitude throughout the late Holocene. The similar extent of glaciers during the middle Holocene and the Little Ice Age may imply that the effect of decreasing summer insolation was surpassed by increasing aridity to limit glacier growth as Neoglaciation progressed. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.