Geographia Polonica (1992) vol. 60

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Deglaciation of the Northern foothills in the East Kunlun Mts

Eugeniusz Drozdowski

Geographia Polonica (1992) vol. 60, pp. 33-42

Abstract

Results of field investigations at the northern foot of East Kunlun Mts. as well as the known so far literature data allowed a reconstruction to be made of the history and type of glaciation and déglaciation of this area during the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene. The former glaciers had developed as piedmont glaciers debouching into the high-glacial Qaidam Lake. The largest glaciers at their maximum stage reached about 45 km in length and at least 20 km in width, producing great quantities of glacial and glaciofluvial material which have been fixed in thick sequences within the area of the former Qaidam Lake. At the decline of the Pleistocene, the piedmont glaciers underwent a large-scale stagnation probably brought about by a rapid decrease in moist air flux. In consequence, kame terraces abutting on the mountain ridges were formed. They are interstratified and covered with angular debris of supraglacial derivation, protecting them against post-depositional erosion and denudation. The latter feature contributed to the fact, that the kame terraces have remained in almost unshaped form up to the present. The thermoluminescence dating of kame sediments yielded a date which suggests that local déglaciation of the investigated foot of the East Kunlun Mts. took place early in the Holocene, around 8000 years BP.

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Eugeniusz Drozdowski, Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization, Polish Academy of Sciences, Toruri, Poland