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Late glacial retreat and Neoglacial advance sequences in the Zillertal Alps, Austria

Mahaney, William C., Hancock, Ronald G.V., Melville, Howard
Geomorphology 2011 v.130 no.3-4 pp. 312-326
Entisols, Regosols, carbon, glaciation, glaciers, ice, morphogenesis, paleosolic soil types, scanning electron microscopy, sediment deposition, weathering, wood, Alps region, Austria
Late Glacial terrain in the Schwarzensteinkees, Hornkees and Waxeckkees forelands of the Zillertal Alps is dominated by sediments deposited by readvancing ice emplaced in the Little Ice Age, starting approximately 550±70cal ¹⁴C yr BP. Late Glacial ice scoured the massif with remnants of Late Glacial end moraines fronting LIA end moraines and buried paleosols underlying LIA end moraines providing scattered evidence of compositional change and weathering since the Later Dryas. The amount of recovered wood from LIA moraines indicates that the massif was forested for at least part of mid-Holocene times, most likely during the Atlantic Chronozone when, presumably, soil morphogenesis was accelerated. Details of till composition and weathering history provide a pedostratigraphic reconstruction which includes mid-LIA readvances between 400±70cal ¹⁴C yr BP and 350±70 cal¹⁴C yr BP. The heavily convoluted character of underlying early LIA or older tills suggests either pre-existing strongly active cryoturbation in a thin Entisol (Regosol) or active push moraine dynamics of advancing warm ice. SEM analysis documents differences in glacial dynamics that may be related to ice thickness, stick–slip motion or clastic load in the ice coupled with rate of movement.