Chronology of taylor glacier advances in Arena Valley, Antarctica, using in situ cosmogenic 3He and 10Be

Edward J. Brook, Mark D. Kurz, Robert P. Ackert, George H. Denton, Erik T. Brown, Grant M. Raisbeck, Francoise Yiou

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In situ produced cosmogenic nuclides provide a new technique for constraining exposure ages of glacial deposits. In situ3He and 10Be in quartz sandstone boulders from Arena Valley, southern Victoria Land, Antarctica, provide chronological constraints for a sequence of moraines (“Taylor II-IVb” moraines) related to expansions of Taylor Glacier and the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Mean 3He ages are 113,000 ± 45,000 yr, 208,000 ± 67,000 yr, 335,000 ± 187,000 yr, and 1.2 ± 0.2 myr, for Taylor II, III, IVa, and IVb moraines, respectively (mean ± 1σ). Corresponding mean 10Be ages for Taylor II and IVb moraines are 117,000 ± 51,000 yr and 2.1 ± 0.1 myr. For the older deposits the 3He ages are probably lower limits due to diffusive loss. Although the exposure ages appear consistent with the few previous age estimates, particularly with an isotope stage 5 age for Taylor II, each moraine exhibits a broad age distribution. The distribution probably results from a variety of factors, which may include prior exposure to cosmic rays, 3He loss, erosion, postdepositional boulder movement, and radiogenic production of 3He. Nonetheless, the exposure ages provide direct chronological constraints for the moraine sequence, and suggest a maximum thickening of Taylor Glacier relative to the present ice surface of ∼500 m since the late Pliocene-early Pleistocene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-23
Number of pages13
JournalQuaternary Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993


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