Rapid age assessment of glacial landforms in the Pyrenees using Schmidt Hammer exposure dating (SHED)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Matthew Tomkins
  • Jason Dortch
  • Andrew Stimson
  • Magali Delmas
  • Marc Calvet
  • Raimon Pallas


Schmidt Hammer (SH) sampling of 54 10Be dated granite surfaces from the Pyrenees reveals a clear relationship between exposure and weathering through time (n = 52, R2 = 0.96, p < 0.01) and permits the use of the SH as a numerical dating tool. To test this 10Be-SH calibration curve, 100 surfaces were sampled from 5 ice-front positions in the Têt catchment, Eastern Pyrenees, with results verified against independent 10Be and 14C ages. Gaussian modelling differentiates Holocene (9.4 ± 0.6 ka), Younger Dryas (12.6 ± 0.9 ka), Oldest Dryas (16.1 ± 0.5 ka), Last Glacial Maximum (LGM: 24.8 ± 0.9 ka) and Würmian Maximum Ice Extent stages (MIE: 40.9 ± 1.1 ka). These data confirm comparable glacier lengths during the LGM and MIE (~300 m difference), in contrast to evidence from the Western Pyrenees (≥15 km), reflecting the relative influence of Atlantic and Mediterranean climates. Moreover, Pyrenean glaciers advanced significantly during the LGM, with a local maximum at ~25 ka, driven by growth of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, southward advection of the polar front and a solar radiation minimum in the Northern Hemisphere. This calibration curve is available at http://shed.earth to enable wider application of this method throughout the Pyrenees.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-37
JournalQuaternary Research
Issue number1
Early online date2 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018