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https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-82
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-82
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 30 Apr 2020

Submitted as: research article | 30 Apr 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Subglacial carbonate deposits as a potential proxy for glacier's existence

Matej Lipar1, Andrea M. Pérez2, Jure Tičar1, Miha Pavšek1, Matej Gabrovec1, Mauro Hrvatin1, Blaž Komac1, Matija Zorn1, Nadja Zupan Hajna3, Jian-Xin Zhao4, and Mateja Ferk1 Matej Lipar et al.
  • 1Anton Melik Geographical Institute, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana, 1000, Slovenia
  • 2Ivan Rakovec Institute of Palaeontology, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana, 1000, Slovenia
  • 3Karst Research Institute, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Postojna, 6230, Slovenia
  • 4School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia

Abstract. The retreat of ice shelves and glaciers over the last century provides unequivocal evidence of recent global warming. Glacierets (miniature glaciers) are an important component that highlights the global retreat of glaciers, but knowledge of their behaviour prior to the Little Ice Age is lacking. Here, we present subglacial carbonate deposits from a recently exposed surface previously occupied by the disappearing Triglav Glacier (southeastern European Alps) that may elucidate the glacier’s existence throughout the entire Holocene since their maximum uranium-thorium (U-Th) ages suggest their possible preservation since the Last Glacial Maximum and Younger Dryas. These thin deposits, formed by regelation, are easily eroded if exposed during previous Holocene climatic optima. The age data indicate the glacier’s present unprecedented level of retreat since the Last Glacial Maximum, and the potential of subglacial carbonates as additional proxies to highlight the extraordinary nature of the current global climatic changes.

Matej Lipar et al.

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Short summary
U-Th ages of recently exposed subglacial carbonates indicate deposition as early as the Last Glacial Maximum and Younger Dryas. The fragility of these carbonates to weathering suggests the continuous glacier-cover since their deposition throughout all but the most recent part of the Holocene, including the climatic optimum. In the paper we discuss the complexity of subglacial carbonates and validate the preliminary results.
U-Th ages of recently exposed subglacial carbonates indicate deposition as early as the Last...
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