First cosmogenic geochronology from the Lesser Caucasus: Late Pleistocene glaciation and rock glacier development in the Karcal Valley, NE Turkey

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Dede V., Cicek I., Sankaya M. A. , Ciner A., Uncu L.

QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS, vol.164, pp.54-67, 2017 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 164
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2017.03.025
  • Page Numbers: pp.54-67


Evidence of widespread alpine glaciations during the Late Pleistocene in mid-latitudes has long attracted attention of researchers. However, there were no studies that contain absolute ages in the Lesser Caucasus despite the fact that it is one of the major glaciated regions in Eurasia. Here, we present first cosmogenic Cl-36 surface exposure ages from the Karcal Mountains (41.24 degrees N, 42.06 degrees E, 3431 m a.s.l., above sea level) which is located in the most western part of the Lesser Caucasus in the northeastern Anatolia. In the Karcal Mountains, there are numerous valleys that have experienced significant glaciations since Late Pleistocene. We have investigated one of the largest valleys, the east-facing Karcal Valley, that hosts even a small (2926 m a.s.l.) recent glacier located at above 3000 m a.s.l. Fossil and recent rock glaciers along with lateral and recessional moraines exist in the valley. We conducted the study in two stages. First, we mapped the geomorphological units in the Karcal Valley in detail based on our field works and aerial photography. Later, we collected 10 rock samples from the fossil rock glacier and recessional moraines for cosmogenic Cl-36 surface exposure dating. The results outline a glacial chronology that is typical of the Last Glacial Maximum. Although the maximum extent and timing of the glaciation is not exactly known as lateral and terminal moraines were not suitable for sampling, recessional moraines indicate that the Karcal Valley palaeoglacier deglaciation started at least 19.9 +/- 1.2 ka ago. Fossil rock glacier samples were dated to 15.7 +/- 1.3 ka. These quantitative results are first in the Lesser Caucasus and compatible with previous ages obtained from other valleys in the nearby Eastern Black Sea region, Anatolian and some of the European Mountains. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.