Glacial to paraglacial history and forest recovery in the Oglio glacier system (Italian Alps) between 26 and 15 ka cal BP

Cesare Ravazzi, Federica Badino, Diego Marsetti, Glauco Patera, Paula J. Reimer

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34 Citations (Scopus)


The integrated stratigraphic, radiocarbon and palynological record from an end-moraine system of the Oglio valley glacier (Italian Alps), propagating a lobe upstream in a lateral reach, provided evidence for a complete cycle of glacial advance, culmination and withdrawal during the Last Glacial Maximum and early Lateglacial. The glacier culminated in the end moraine shortly after 25.8 +/- 0.8 ka cal BP, and cleared the valley floor 18.3-17.2 +/- 0.3 ka cal BP. A primary paraglacial phase is then recorded by fast progradation of the valley floor.

As early as 16.7 +/- 0.3 ka cal BP, early stabilization of alluvial fans and lake filling promoted expansion of cembran pine. This is an unprecedented evidence of direct tree response to depletion of paraglacial activity during the early Lateglacial, and also documents the cembran pine survival in the mountain belt of the Italian Alps during the last glaciation. Between 16.1 and 14.6 +/- 0.5 ka cal BP, debris cones emplacement points to a moisture increase favouring tree Betula and Pinus sylvestris-mugo. A climate perturbation renewed paraglacial activity. According to cosmogenic ages on glacial deposits and AMS radiocarbon ages from lake records in South-Eastern Alps such phase compares favourably with the Gschnitz stadial and with the oscillations recorded at lakes Ragogna. Langsee and Jeserzersee, most probably forced by the latest freshening phases of the Heinrich Event 1.

A further sharp pine rise marks the subsequent onset of Bolling interstadial. The chronology of the Oglio glacier compares closely with major piedmont glaciers on the Central and Eastern Alpine forelands. On the other hand, the results of the present study imply a chronostratigraphic re-assessment of the recent geological mapping of the Central Italian Alps. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-161
Number of pages16
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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