Glaciations and paleoclimate of Mount Erciyes, central Turkey, since the Last Glacial Maximum, inferred from 36Cl cosmogenic dating and glacier modeling

Mehmet Akif Sarikaya, Marek Zreda, Attila Çiner

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94 Scopus citations


Forty-four boulders from moraines in two glacial valleys of Mount Erciyes (38.53°N, 35.45°E, 3917 m), central Turkey, dated with cosmogenic chlorine-36 (36Cl), indicate four periods of glacial activity in the past 22 ka (1 ka = 1000 calendar years). Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) glaciers were the most extensive, reaching 6 km in length and descending to an altitude of 2150 m above sea level. These glaciers started retreating 21.3 ± 0.9 ka (1σ) ago. They readvanced and retreated by 14.6 ± 1.2 ka ago (Lateglacial), and again by 9.3 ± 0.5 ka ago (Early Holocene). The latest advance took place 3.8 ± 0.4 ka ago (Late Holocene). Using glacier modeling together with paleoclimate proxy data from the region, we reconstructed the paleoclimate at these four discrete times. The results show that LGM climate was 8-11 °C colder than today and moisture levels were somewhat similar to modern values, with a range between 20% more and 25% less than today. The analysis of Lateglacial advance suggests that the climate was colder by 4.5-6.4 °C based on up to 1.5 times wetter conditions. The Early Holocene was 2.1-4.9 °C colder and up to twice as wet as today, while the Late Holocene was 2.4-3 °C colder and its precipitation amounts approached to similar conditions as today. Our paleoclimate reconstructions show a general trend of warming for the last 22 ka, and an increase of moisture until Early Holocene, and a decrease after that time. The recent glacier terminates at 3450 m on the northwest side of the mountain. It is a remnant from the last advance (possibly during the Little Ice Age). Repeated measurements of glacier length between 1902 and 2008 reveal a retreat rate of 4.2 m per year, which corresponds to a warming rate of 0.9-1.2 °C per century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2326-2341
Number of pages16
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Issue number23-24
StatePublished - Nov 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology


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