Research > Deglaciation of south Sweden

The deglaciation of southern Sweden

The deglaciation of southern Sweden was dated using cosmogenic nuclide surface exposure dating. By using the same methods as had previously been used on the Swedish west coast the two regions could be correlated.

We suggest that central Skåne, the southernmost province of Sweden, was deglaciated between 17 and 16 ka. At this time the southwest coast of Skåne could still have been influenced by ice streaming through the Baltic basin and might thus still have been ice covered. Farther north, in southern Småland, the deglaciation of the eastward continuation of the Göteborg Moraine was dated to 15.6±0.8 and 16.6±0.9 ka. In northern Småland a site close to the Vimmerby Moraine was dated to 14.6±1.0 ka, in good agreement with a previous dating of that moraine. Our northernmost site, situated only 25 km south of the Younger Dryas moraine, was dated to c. 13.8±0.8 ka and cosmogenic surface exposure ages from Gotland suggest a deglaciation there before 13.0±0.8 ka.

The combined deglaciation chronology suggests a rather steady deglaciation in southern Sweden starting at c. 17.9 cal. ka BP in NW Skåne and reaching northern Småland, ~200 km further north, c. 13.8 ka ago. Overall the new deglaciation ages agree reasonably well with existing deglaciation chronologies, but suggest a somewhat earlier deglaciation in Småland.

Deglaciation of south Sweden
Deglaciation chronology and correlations of ice marginal lines in southern Sweden. The mean cosmogenic exposure ages (black) are plotted together with the oldest radiocarbon ages from selected sites and estimated deglaciation ages from Lundqvist & Wohlfarth (2001) (red). At sites where the cosmogenic exposure ages were too scattered to calculate a mean age, the most likely age was selected (see Anjar et al. 2014 for details). Suggested correlations between the east and west coast of Sweden are marked with dashed lines but remain speculative. Areas above the highest shoreline are indicated in green. The deglaciation ages used are from Ringberg (1989, recalibrated), Sandgren et al. (1999, recalibrated), Lundqvist & Wohlfarth (2001), Johnsen et al. (2009, recalculated), Larsen et al. (2012, recalculated), Houmark-Nielsen et al. (2012) and this study. Digital elevation data after Jarvis et al. (2008).

Anjar, J., Larsen, N. K., Håkansson, L., Möller, P., Linge, H., Fabel, D. & Xu, S. 2013: A 10Be based reconstruction of the Fennoscandian ice sheet's deglaciation in southern Sweden. Boreas 43, 132-148. Link.

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