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S.B. Nielsen

Widespread erosion on high plateaus during recent glaciations in Scandinavia

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Glaciers create some of Earth's steepest topography; yet, many areas that were repeatedly overridden by ice sheets in the last few million years include extensive plateaus. The distinct geomorphic contrast between plateaus and the glacial troughs that dissect them has sustained two long-held hypotheses: first, that ice sheets perform insignificant erosion beyond glacial troughs, and, second, that the plateaus represent ancient pre-glacial landforms bearing information of tectonic and geomorphic history prior to Pliocene-Pleistocene global cooling (similar to 3.5 Myr ago). Here we show that the Fennoscandian ice sheets drove widespread erosion across plateaus far beyond glacial troughs. We apply inverse modelling to 118 new cosmogenic Be-10 and Al-26 measurements to quantify ice sheet erosion on the plateaus fringing the Sognefjorden glacial trough in western Norway. Our findings demonstrate substantial modification of the pre-glacial landscape during the Quaternary, and that glacial erosion of plateaus is important when estimating the global sediment flux to the oceans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number830
JournalNature Communications
Volume9
Number of pages7
ISSN2041-1723
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2018

    Research areas

  • FENNOSCANDIAN ICE-SHEET, BE-10 EXPOSURE AGES, CLIMATE-CHANGE, LANDSCAPE EVOLUTION, COSMOGENIC NUCLIDES, WESTERN NORWAY, AMS STANDARDS, RATES, SEDIMENT, SURFACES

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