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A New Lichenometric Dating Curve For Southeast Iceland.

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Abstract:

This paper presents a new lichenometric dating curve for southeast Iceland. The temporal framework for the curve is based on reliably dated surfaces covering the last 270 years, making it the best constrained study of this nature conducted in Iceland. The growth of lichen species within Rhizocarpon Section Rhizocarpon is non-linear over time, with larger (older) thalli apparently growing more slowly. The linear ‘growth’ curves derived previously by former authors working in Iceland represent only part of a curve which has an overall exponential form. Reasons for the non-linearity of the new dating curve are probably physiological, although climatic change over the last three centuries cannot be ruled out. Use of linear ‘growth’ curves in Iceland is problematic over time-spans of more than c. 80 years. Pre-20th century moraines dated using a constant, linear relationship between lichen size and age are probably older than previously believed. Those moraines lichenometrically ‘dated’ to the second half of the 19th century in Iceland may actually pre-date this time by several decades (30–100 years), thus throwing doubt on the exact timing of maximum glaciation during the ‘Little Ice Age’.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0435-3676.2001.00146.x

Affiliations: Department of Geography, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2001

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