Dating Glacial Landforms I: Archival, incremental, relative dating techniques and age-equivalent stratigraphic makers

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Combining glacial geomorphology and understanding the glacial process with geochronological tools is a powerful method for understanding past ice-mass response to climate change. These data are critical if we are to comprehend ice mass response to external drivers of change and better predict future change. This chapter covers key concepts relating to the dating of glacial landforms, including absolute and relative dating techniques, direct and indirect dating, precision and accuracy, minimum and maximum ages, and quality assurance protocols. The chapter then covers the dating of glacial landforms using archival methods (documents, paintings, topographic maps, aerial photographs, satellite images), relative stratigraphies (morphostratigraphy, Schmidt hammer dating, amino acid racemization), incremental methods that mark the passage of time (lichenometry, dendroglaciology, varve records), and age-equivalent stratigraphic markers (tephrochronology, palaeomagnetism, biostratigraphy). When used together with radiometric techniques, these methods allow glacier response to climate change to be characterized across the Quaternary, with resolutions from annual to thousands of years, and timespans applicable over the last few years, decades, centuries, millennia and millions of years. All dating strategies must take place within a geomorphological and sedimentological framework that seeks to comprehend glacier processes, depositional pathways and post-depositional processes, and dating techniques must be used with knowledge of their key assumptions, best-practice guidelines and limitations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCryospheric Geomorphology
EditorsUmesh Haritashya
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021

Publication series

NameTreatise on Geomorphology, 2nd edition

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