Schmidt-hammer exposure-age dating (SHD) of sorted stripes on Juvflye, Jotunheimen (central South Norway): Morphodynamic and palaeoclimatic implications

Winkler, Stefan, Matthews, John A, Haselberger, Stefan, Hill, Jennifer ORCID: 0000-0002-0682-783X, Mourne, Richard W, Owen, Geraint and Wilson, Peter (2020) Schmidt-hammer exposure-age dating (SHD) of sorted stripes on Juvflye, Jotunheimen (central South Norway): Morphodynamic and palaeoclimatic implications. Geomorphology, 353. p. 107014. doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2019.107014

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Measurements with an electronic Schmidt-hammer (RockSchmidt) were conducted on 23 sites of sorted stripes (periglacial patterned ground) on Juvflye, Jotunheimen (central South Norway). All were located above the current lower limit of alpine permafrost. Performing Schmidt-hammer exposure-age dating (SHD) based on application of a new local age-calibration equation for RRock-values yielded SHD-ages between 7975 ± 370 and 6660 ± 355 years ago, which are closely comparable to results obtained previously from sorted circles at the same location. The age estimates are interpreted as ‘composite’ ages indicative of upfreezing of boulders, lateral sorting, and subsequent stabilisation. Formation of patterned ground essentially ceased with the onset of the regional Holocene Thermal Maximum (HTM). Neither sorted stripe sites at higher altitude, continuously underlain by permafrost during the entire Holocene, nor those at lower altitudes affected by re-aggradation of permafrost in the late Holocene show signs of significant recent morphodynamic activity. Likely explanations for early- to mid-Holocene stabilisation include (1) substantial changes of soil moisture conditions and related thermodynamics within the active layer affecting frost action, (2) loss of fine-grained substrate matrix from the coarse stripes and hence reduced frost susceptibility, and (3) exhaustion of supply of boulders from the fines-dominated areas. Whereas the sorted stripe data set as a whole did not reproduce the altitudinal gradient characteristic of sorted circles on Juvflye, the strength of the relationship between sorted stripe mean RRock-values and altitude increased with declining slope gradient. Although interpretation of SHD-ages for patterned ground remains challenging, this successful application of the electronic Schmidt-hammer, with its increased efficiency and technical improvements over the mechanical Schmidt-hammer, offers considerable potential for future SHD-studies in both morphodynamic and palaeoclimatic contexts.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Periglacial patterned ground; Sorted stripes;Alpine permafrost; Schmidt-hammer exposure-age dating; (SHD)RockSchmidtHolocene; palaeoclimatology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Divisions: Professional Services > Academic Development Unit
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2020 11:28
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2022 15:31

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