Late-glacial to Holocene glaciers in the Turkish mountains

Altınay O., Sarıkaya M. A., Çiner T. A.

Mediterranean Geoscience Reviews, vol.2, no.1, pp.119-133, 2020 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 2 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s42990-020-00024-7
  • Journal Name: Mediterranean Geoscience Reviews
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.119-133
  • Keywords: Cosmogenic surface dating, Holocene, Late-glacial, LGM, Little ice age, Moraines, Mount erciyes, Taurus, Younger dryas
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Although Turkey is a mid-latitude country, because of its relatively high topography it hosted Quaternary glaciers on its mountains. Some of these high mountains (> 3500 m above sea level) still contain recent glaciers, probably remnants of Holocene glacier advances. Despite the abundance of recent cosmogenic surface exposure dating studies in Turkey, Holocene glacial chronologies are still limited. Here, we reviewed five mountains in Turkey where Holocene chronologies were presented in earlier studies. All these glacial chronologies are located in the western and central Taurus Mountain Ranges and in central Anatolia. The timing of the glaciations has been established mainly by cosmogenic 36Cl surface exposure dating. We re-calculated some of the published cosmogenic ages using up-to-date production rates and scaling schemas. The maximum extent of glaciers was during the Last Glacial Maximum (c. 21 ka), but Late-glacial (c. 16 ka) and Younger Dryas (c. 12 ka) ages were also reported. At the onset of the Holocene (c. 11 ka), glaciers retreated to less extensive positions and deposited their moraines. Contemporaneously, periglacial and paraglacial processes also became active with the development of rock glaciers in several parts of the country. Some mountains still contain active glaciers although the melting tendency is obvious as in other parts of the world. Considering the paleoglacial/glacial regions in Turkey, there are numerous areas that do not have their own glacial chronologies and further studies should focus on these undated regions.