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Equilibrium-line altitudes and rock glaciers during the Younger Dryas cooling event, Ferwall group, western Tyrol, Austria

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Three cirques in the Ferwall group, western Tyrol, Austria, which are characterized by distinct Late-glacial moraines and rock glaciers, are discussed. The morphology of the moraines and the depression of the equilibrium-line altitude suggest they were deposited during the Egesen Stadial (Younger Dryas), which can be subdivided into three substages. Rock-glacier formation was initialized during or after the Egesen II substage. They became inactive at the Pleistocene–Holocene transition. ELA values are 290–320 m lower than the Little Ice Age ELA during the Egesen I substage, 190–230 m lower during the Egesen II substage and 120–160 m lower during the Egesen III substage. The lowering of the rock-glacier belt (discontinuous permafrost) during and after the Egesen II substage is about 400 m, indicating a mean annual air-temperature depression in the order of 3 K. During the Egesen I (early Younger Dryas), the climate seems to have been rather cold and wet with precipitation similar to present-day values. During later phases (Egesen II and III), the climate remained cold and became increasingly drier. The rise of the ELA during the Egesen I–III substages seems to have been mainly caused by a decrease in precipitation.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 1999

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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