Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2009, Vol. 64 ›› Issue (1): 33-42.doi: 10.11821/xb200901004

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Glacial Environment during the Last Glacial Cycle in the Mountains of East Asia

ZHANG Wei1, YAN Ling1, CUI Zhijiu2, YANG Jianqiang2   

  1. 1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences,Liaoning Normal University,Dalian 116029,China;
    2. Department of Geography,Peking University,Beijing 100871,China
  • Received:2008-08-09 Revised:2008-11-05 Online:2009-01-25 Published:2009-01-25
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40571016


Evidence from all over the world shows that the timing of mountain glacier maxima advances varied widely. Studies on the climatic conditions, tectonic background, glacial sequences and glacier extents show that they are different from region to region. Three glacial remains are preserved in Taiwanese mountains including the middle/early stage, last glacial maximum and late-glacial stage glaciers. The glacier extent in MIS3b is larger than MIS2. The glacier geomorphology and landforms are well perserved in Japanese high mountains, such as the MIS2, MIS3 and MIS4 stage glaciers, and the glacial extent in MIS4/3 is larger than that of MIS2. The high mountain range of the Changbai Mountains is unglaciatied at present, but numerous glacial landforms and related sediments around the Tianchi Lake, especially on the northern and western slopes of the volcanic cone, indicated that there was repeated glaciation in these areas during the last glacial cycle. The glacial landforms and deposits in the study area are assigned to the LGM (MIS2) and the Late Glacial. Seasonal and atmospheric cycle differences and different geographic locations caused different conditions of precipitation and temperature. New calculation of the modern theoretical snowline (ELA) and ELA depression during the LGM shows that the ELA is 2750-4245 m from the northernmost Japan to the southernmost Taiwan, and the ELA depression is 800-1300 m with an average value of 1000 m except in the northern part of Japan (only 400 m). The glacial development is obviously affected by the neo-tectonic actions. A 250-m mountain uplift is calculated using the minimum value of uplift rate 5 mm/yr in the Taiwanese mountains during the MIS3b glacier stage.

Key words: last glacial cycle, glacier environment, tectonic uplift, glacial extent, East Asia