17 Mar 2022
17 Mar 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Quantification of post-glacier erosion in the European Alps using 10Be and OSL exposure dating

Joanne Elkadi1, Benjamin Lehmann2, Georgina King1, Olivia Steinemann3, Susan Ivy-Ochs3, Marcus Christl3, and Frederic Herman1 Joanne Elkadi et al.
  • 1Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 2INSTAAR and Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
  • 3Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH Zürich, Otto-Stern-Weg 5, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland

Abstract. The retreat of glaciers since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in the European Alps has left an imprint on topography through glacial and non-glacial erosional processes. However, few methods are currently capable of resolving these mechanisms on Lateglacial to Holocene timescales. Quantifying the relative contributions of mountain erosion, during these different climate cycles, is useful for understanding long-term landscape evolution and the links between global climate and erosion. Here, we combine three Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) exposure dating signals with 10Be surface exposure dating to constrain the post-glacier erosion rates of bedrock samples down a vertical transect adjacent to the Gorner glacier in Zermatt, Switzerland. The results reveal erosion rates on the order of 10-2 to 10-1 mm a-1, in general agreement with other studies in the region, as well as a strong negative correlation between erosion rates and elevation. Finally, at present glacial erosion is assumed to have a greater influence on landscapes, yet a global compilation of both glacial and non-glacial erosion rates in deglaciated environments shows that erosion rates during interglacial times could be equally important.

Joanne Elkadi et al.

Status: open (until 07 Jun 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-43', Nicolas Young, 28 Mar 2022 reply
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-43', Derek Fabel, 16 Apr 2022 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-43', Pierre Valla, 02 May 2022 reply
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-43', Rachel Smedley, 03 May 2022 reply

Joanne Elkadi et al.


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Short summary
Glacial and non-glacial processes have left a strong imprint on the landscape of the European Alps, but further research is needed to better understand their long-term effects. We apply a new technique combining two methods for bedrock surface dating to calculate post-glacier erosion rates next to a Swiss glacier. Interestingly, the results suggest that glacial and non-glacial erosion rates are more similar than previously thought.