Geographia Polonica (2008) vol. 81, iss. 1

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Quantifying Holocene Surface Lowering of Limestone Pavements in Previously Glaciated Environments

Marie-françoise André

Geographia Polonica (2008) vol. 81, iss. 1, pp. 9-18


Valuable estimates of Holocene solutional erosion rates are offered by ice-scouredlimestone pavements which provide adequate reference surfaces and reliable chronological control.From Spitsbergen to the equatorial mountains and hyperhumid Chilean Patagonia, increasingrates of surface lowering due to carbonate solution coincide with increasing precipitationamounts. Additional data from other environments confirm the primacy of this climatic control,but also point to the need for rock control (e.g. porosity and jointing) to be taken into accountin comparative studies. As shown by Goldie (2005), when obtained in densely jointed and/orbedded limestones, the so-called ‘solution rates’ correspond to rates of mechanical weatheringand cannot be compared to genuine solution rates obtained on compact and massive carbonateoutcrops.

Keywords: karst, limestone pavement, Polar and Alpine environments, postglacial solution rates, climatic control, rock control

Marie-françoise André, Laboratory of Physical and Environmental Geography GEOLAB—UMR 6042 CNRS / Blaise Pascal University MSH 4 rue Ledru 63057 Clermont-Ferrand Cedex 1 (France)