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Monsoonal forcing of Holocene glacier fluctuations in Ganesh Himal (Central Nepal) constrained by cosmogenic 3He exposure ages of garnets

Abstract : In the Himalayas, the late Pleistocene glacier oscillations have produced spectacular glacial landforms. Detailed reconstructions of the chronology and extent of these oscillations are essential to document the sensitivity of the Himalayan glaciers to past and future climatic changes. In this paper, we present a new cosmogenic helium 3 (3Hec) dating on garnets, that were sampled on moraine blocks and ice-scoured surfaces in a small glaciated valley of the Central Nepal (the Mailun valley), and that provided a detailed chronology of Himalayan glacier fluctuations during the Holocene. Soon after the Younger Dryas, the glacier of theMailun valley underwent a significant retreat around 10 ka. This retreat was followed by relative stability of the extent of the glacier between ∼8.5 and ∼7.5 ka. A second phase of rapid retreat occurred at ∼7 ka, but rapidly slowed down at ∼5–6 ka. Finally, a last phase of re-advance occurred between 0 and 1 ka. The interpretation of the Equilibrium Line Altitude (ELA) variation, deduced from this chronology (for the Holocene period) and carbon 14 (14C) dating (for the Pleistocene period), shows that the early history of theMailun valley deglaciation (late Pleistocene) is in good agreement with the global paleoclimatic records. The main extent of the glacier and the major ice volume drop are in phase with the global Last Glacial Maximum (25–17 ka) and with the major worldwide temperature increase following the Younger Dryas, respectively, indicating that theMailun glacier was primarily driven by temperature oscillations during the late Pleistocene. In contrast, the glacier chronology during the Holocene suggests that the Mailun glacier was modulated by the variation in annual precipitation, and is asynchronous relative to most glaciers of the Northern Hemisphere. The significant sensitivity of the Himalayan glaciers to precipitation might explain the striking lack of synchronism of the Himalayan glaciers both along and across the Himalayan arc.
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Submitted on : Friday, February 8, 2008 - 1:10:53 PM
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E. Gayer, J. Lavé, R. Pik, C. France-Lanord. Monsoonal forcing of Holocene glacier fluctuations in Ganesh Himal (Central Nepal) constrained by cosmogenic 3He exposure ages of garnets. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2006, 252, pp.275-288. ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2006.09.040⟩. ⟨insu-00248893⟩



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