Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 1851–1859 | Cite as

Depositional and summer snow melting features in 2007–2011 on the upstream side of Potanin Glacier, Mongolian Altai, reconstructed by pollen and oxygen isotope analysis

  • Fumio NakazawaEmail author
  • Keiko Konya
  • Tsutomu Kadota
  • Tetsuo Ohata
Thematic Issue


This study analyzed pollen in snow pits dug in late summer (2008–2011) on the upstream side of Potanin Glacier, a summer accumulation-type glacier in the Mongolian Altai, to reconstruct the recent snow depositional environment, particularly melting conditions. Annual snow pit observations were performed at sites 0 and 4 (3752 and 3890 m a.s.l., respectively). Seasonal layers in the pits were identified according to the presence of pollen from three taxa (Betulaceae, Pinus, and Artemisia), which have different pollen seasons typically between May and early September. The pollen-dating method was successful in snow pits where conventional methods such as ice layer dating and use of δ 18O records were unreliable due to significant melting. Depths of pollen concentration peaks for the three taxa differed annually at both sites. In some years, concentration peaks of the three pollen taxa were found at different depths, but in other years, peaks associated with each taxon were found at the same depth. This difference was explained by summer temperature. Snow melting during the relatively warm summers of 2007 and 2008 caused pollen grains to concentrate on the glacier surface, producing peaks at the same depth. In contrast, snow melting during the relatively cool summer of 2009 did not substantially alter pollen grain location, and each peak thus retained its original depth. The median temperatures in 2010 and 2011 corresponded to pollen concentrating on the glacier surface at site 0 but retaining their original position at site 4.


Pollen Glacier Altai Ice core Dating 



The authors thank all the individuals who assisted in conducting this study. This research was funded by the "Systematic Analysis for Global Environmental Change and Life on Earth" research project of the Transdisciplinary Research Integration Center, and by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI Grant Number 24710019. Production of this paper was supported by a National Institute of Polar Research publication subsidy.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fumio Nakazawa
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Keiko Konya
    • 3
  • Tsutomu Kadota
    • 3
  • Tetsuo Ohata
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.National Institute of Polar ResearchTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Transdisciplinary Research Integration CenterTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Geochemical Cycle ResearchJapan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and TechnologyYokosukaJapan
  4. 4.National Institute of Polar ResearchTokyoJapan

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