The north Taymyr ice-marginal zone, arctic Siberia—a preliminary overview and dating
Summary, in English
he North Taymyr ice-marginal zone (NTZ) is a complex of glacial, glaciofluvial and glaciolacustrine deposits, laid down on the northwestern Taymyr Peninsula in northernmost Siberia, along the front of ice sheets primarily originating on the Kara Sea shelf. It was originally recognised from satellite radar images by Russian scientists; however, before the present study, it had not been investigated in any detail. The ice sheets have mainly inundated Taymyr from the northwest, and the NTZ can be followed for 700-750 km between 75 degrees N and 77 degrees N, mostly 80-100 km inland from the present Kara Sea coast. The ice-marginal zone is best developed in its central parts, ca. 100 km on each side of the Lower Taymyr River, and has there been studied by us in four areas. In two of these, the ice sheet ended on land, whereas in the two others, it mainly terminated into ice-dammed lakes. The base of the NTZ is a series of up to 100-m-high and 2-km-wide ridges, usually consisting of redeposited marine silts. These ridges are still to a large extent ice-cored; however, the present active layer rarely penetrates to the ice surface. Upon these main ridges, smaller ridges of till and glaciofluvial material are superimposed. Related to these are deltas corresponding to two generations of ice-dammed lakes, with shore levels at 120-140 m and ca. 80 m a.s.l. These glacial lakes drained southwards, opposite to the present-day pattern, via the Taymyr River valley into the Taymyr Lake basin and, from there, most probably westwards to the southern Kara Sea shelf. The basal parts of the NTZ have not been dated; however, OSL dates of glaciolacustrine deltas indicate an Early-Middle Weichselian age for at least the superimposed ridges. The youngest parts of the NTZ are derived from a thin ice sheet (less than 300 m thick near the present coast) inundating the lowlands adjacent to the lower reaches of the Taymyr River. The glacial ice from this youngest advance is buried under only ca. 0.5 m of melt-out till and is exposed by hundreds of shallow slides. This final glaciation is predated by glacially redeposited marine shells aged ca. 20,000 BP ( (super 14) C) and postdated by terrestrial plant material from ca. 11,775 and 9500 BP ( (super 14) C)-giving it a last global glacial maximum (LGM; Late Weichselian) age.