The latest LGM culmination of the Garda Glacier (Italian Alps) and the onset of glacial termination. Age of glacial collapse and vegetation chronosequence

Cesare Ravazzi*, Roberta Pini, Federica Badino, Mattia De Amicis, Laurent Londeix, Paula J. Reimer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


In the deglacial sequence of the largest end moraine system of the Italian Alps, we focused on the latest culmination of the Last Glacial Maximum, before a sudden downwasting of the piedmontane lobe occupying the modern lake basin. We obtained a robust chronology for this culmination and for the subsequent deglacial history by cross-radiocarbon dating of a proximal fluvioglacial plain and of a deglacial continuous lake sedimentation. We used reworked dinocysts to locate sources of glacial abrasion and to mark the input of glacial meltwater until depletion. The palynological record from postglacial lake sediments provided the first vegetation chronosequence directly reacting to the early Lateglacial withdrawal so far documented in the Alps.

Glacier collapse occurred soon after 17.46 +/- 0.2 ka cal BP, which is, the Manerba advance culmination. Basin deglaciation of several overdeepened foreland piedmont lakes on southern and northern sides of the Alps appears to be synchronous at millennial scale and near-synchronous with large-scale glacial retreat at global scale. The pioneering succession shows a first afforestation step at a median modeled age of 64 years after deglaciation, while rapid tree growth lagged 7 centuries. Between 16.4 +/- 0.16 and 15.5 +/- 0.16 ka cal BP, a regressive phase interrupted forest growth marking a Lateglacial phase of continental-dry climate predating GI-1. This event, spanning the most advanced phases of North-Atlantic H1, is consistently radiocarbon-framed at three deglacial lake records so far investigated on the Italian side of the Alps. Relationships with the Gschnitz stadial from the Alpine record of Lateglacial advances are discussed

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-47
Number of pages22
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2014


  • Alpine deglaciation
  • Vegetation history
  • Lateglacial
  • Reworked palynomorphs
  • Bison priscus
  • Heinrich Event 1
  • CAL BP
  • LAKE


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