Severnaya Zemlya, Arctic Russia: a nucleation area for Kara Sea ice sheets during the Middle to Late Quaternary

P. Moller, D.J. Lubinski, O. Ingolfsson, S.L. Forman, M.S. Seidenkrantz, D.Y. Bolshiyanov, H. Lokrantz, O. Antonov, M. Pavlov, K. Ljung, J.J. Zeeberg, A. Andreev

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Quaternary glacial stratigraphy and relative sea-level changes reveal at least four expansions of the Kara Sea ice sheet over the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago at 79°N in the Russian Arctic, as indicated from tills interbedded with marine sediments, exposed in stratigraphic superposition, and from raised-beach sequences that occur at altitudes up to 140 m a.s.l. Chronologic control is provided by AMS 14C, electron-spin resonance, green-stimulated luminescence, and aspartic-acid geochronology. Major glaciations followed by deglaciation and marine inundation occurred during MIS 10-9, MIS 8-7, MIS 6-5e and MIS 5d-3. The MIS 6-5e event, associated with the high marine limit, implies ice-sheet thickness of >2000 m only 200 km from the deep Arctic Ocean, consistent with published evidence of ice grounding at 1000 m water depth in the central Arctic Ocean. Till fabrics and glacial tectonics record repeated expansions of local ice caps exclusively, suggesting wet-based ice cap advance followed by cold-based regional ice-sheet expansion. Local ice caps over highland sites along the perimeter of the shallow Kara Sea, including the Byrranga Mountains, appear to have repeatedly fostered initiation of a large Kara Sea ice sheet, with exception of the Last Glacial Maximum (MIS 2), when Kara Sea ice did not impact Severnaya Zemlya and barely graced northernmost Taymyr Peninsula.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2894-2936
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Issue number21-22
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • western yamal peninsula
  • last glacial maximum
  • taymyr peninsula
  • northern eurasia
  • marginal zone
  • luminescence
  • pleistocene
  • siberia
  • sediments
  • history


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