Andean Snowline Evidence for Cooler Subtropics at the Last Glacial Maximum

  • Geoffrey O. Seltzer
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 22)


A common perception exists that glacier snowlines were depressed about 1000 m in American alpine regions during the Last Glacial Maximum (dated in marine sediments between 23 and 14 kyr BP by the δ18O proxy for ice volume) as a result of a temperature reduction equivalent to a lapse rate of 5°–6°C/km (e.g. Broecker and Denton, 1989). This contradicts reconstructions of sea-surface temperatures that are <2°C cooler in low-latitude regions (CLIMAP, 1981; Webster and Streten, 1978; Rind andPeteet, 1985; Rind, 1990). In this work I show that snowlines were not uniformily depressed 1000 m in the Andean sub tropics and the revised estimates of temperature reduction are closer to the CLIMAP findings. However, glaciation in the tropical-subtropical latitudes of the Americas probably culminated twice during the late Pleistocene, more than 20 kyr BP and just prior to deglaciation about 14 kyr BP, making a direct comparison of the snowline evidence to the CLIMAP findings potentially misleading.


Glacial Maximum Quaternary Research Quaternary Science Review Eastern Cordillera Bulk Organic Matter 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey O. Seltzer
    • 1
  1. 1.Byrd Polar Research CenterThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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