Glaciers recession in the mountains of the former USSR after the maximum of the "Little Ice Age": Time and scale (Analysis of the new inventory)

Olga Solomina, Inst. Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Staromonetny 29, 109017 Moscow, Russia ( /

The new inventory contains the data on the lichenometry of moraines in Caucasus, Pamiro-Alay, Tien-Shan, Altay and Kamchatka. About 100 glaciers with their moraines are used as the key areas for the reconstruction of the retreat scale of the glaciers existing under different climatic and orographic conditions. The distance from the front of the glaciers to the moraine of LIA Maximum, the altitude of the moraine of LIA Maxium, the altitude of the beginning of the lateral moraines, the altitude of the medial moraine and corresponding nunataks are estimated for more than 1000 glaciers by air-borne images.

Glaciers Advances--Time (Lichenometry)

The most part of moraines in all regions under consideration was formed after the middle of 17 century. There were glacier advances in the end of 17--the beginning of 18, the end of 18--the beginning of 19, the middle of 19, the end of 19, the beginning of 20 century. The maximum of glacier advances over the last millenia occurred in the most part of regions in 17 or 19 century. Only in the Caucasus the moraines of 13 century are situated much lower than the more recent ones. Unfortunately the low accuracy of moraine dating in some regions does not allow to correlate the moraine age precisely, but in general it could be suggested that the main glacier advances were synchronous from Caucasus to Kamchatka over the last hundreds years. The difference in the set of the stages seems to be rather influenced by the local conditions, than by regional factors.

Glaciers Retreat--Scale (Air-borne images)

The analysis of air-borne images of the regions mentioned above as well as in Polar Urals, Central Pamirs, Cherskogo Range, Tchukotka Mountains, Suntar-Khayata Mountains, Koriakskoye Nagoriye shows that the length of the glaciers decreased everywhere, but the scale of the decreasing in Caucasus, Pamiro-Alay, Tien-Shan and Altay and Koriakskoye Nagoriye is about 600-800 m, but in the North-Eastern Mountains it is much less--only 130-280 m (depression of the altitude of the fronts is 120-170 m and 20-50 m respectively).

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