• Open Access

Palaeoenvironment in northern Norway between 22.2 and 14.5 cal. ka BP



The stratigraphy of lake Endletvatn on northern Andøya, northern Norway, has been revisited to improve the understanding of the palaeoenvironment in the region during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Four high-quality cores were analysed with respect to various lithological parameters and macrofossil content, supplemented by 47 AMS radiocarbon dates. The sediments indicate a low-energy environment with a mean sedimentation rate of 0.5 mm a−1. We infer perennially frozen ground in the surroundings during the LGM. Climate proxies indicate a high arctic climate (i.e. July mean temperatures between 0 and 3°C) throughout most of the LGM. The warmest periods are marked by a rise in seed, moss and animal fossils, and often also by higher organic production in the lake. These periods took place from 21.4 to 20.1, from 18.8 to 18.1, around 17 and from 16.4 cal. ka BP onwards. The shifts between the different climatic regimes occurred rapidly – probably during one or two decades. The present data do not support recently published conclusions stating that Picea, Pinus and Betula pubescens grew on Andøya during parts of the LGM. The highest relative sea level after the final deglaciation on northern Andøya is bracketed between 36 and 38 m a.s.l. It occurred between 21.0 and 20.3 cal. ka BP, peaking around 20.7 cal. ka BP. The final deglaciation of the northern tip of Andøya occurred 22.2 cal. ka BP. Then the western margin of the Andfjorden ice stream receded to the Kjølhaugen Moraine and shortly thereafter to the Endleten Moraine. Our research confirms that northern Andøya is a key location for understanding the natural environment in northwestern Europe during the LGM.