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Journal Articles Quaternary Science Reviews Year : 2017

Late Quaternary sackungen in the highest mountains of the Carpathians


Sackungen represents a common mode of deep-seated rock-slope failures in alpine landscapes, but proof of their temporal and causal relationship to extrinsic factors such as climatic changes, glacier retreat or seismic activity remains elusive. Based on the terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide (TCN) dating of 18 sackung scarps supported by one radiocarbon-dated scarp, we reconstructed the post-glacial chronology of sackungen in the Tatra Mts. (central Europe, Slovakia and Poland), the highest part of the Carpathians. The obtained ages (-15.7-4.3 ka) indicate that sackungen post-date the regional LGM and some of them originated soon after the glacier withdrawal from adjacent valleys. Furthermore, systematic decrease of scarp ages with their increasing altitude suggests a direct link between sackung origin and post-LGM glacier thinning. However, substantial lag (>5 ka) of some sackungen in respect to glacier retreat implies complex relationships between sackung onset and deglaciation where retreat of glaciers acted predominantly as a preparatory, not a triggering factor during the genesis of these slope deformations. They originated either as a consequence of stress relaxation within the rock mass lasting several ka or alternatively could be triggered by climatic processes or seismicity. Indeed, a significant part of sackung activity took place during predominantly warmer and more humid periods, with some dates coinciding with the Belling-Allerod chronozone, but especially with the onset of the Holocene and the Holocene Climatic Optimum. Earthquake triggering is less probable, as the Tatra Mts. lack significant modern and historic seismic activity and there is no geomorphic evidence of fault offsets on the Late Quaternary landforms. In concert with other recent studies, we propose that large rock slope failures in high mountains seldom react immediately to glacier withdrawal, but could display temporal delay lasting up to several millennia. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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hal-01610264 , version 1 (04-10-2017)



Tomas Panek, Pavel Mentlik, Zbynek Engel, Regis Braucher, Albert Zondervan, et al.. Late Quaternary sackungen in the highest mountains of the Carpathians. Quaternary Science Reviews, 2017, 159, pp.47-62. ⟨10.1016/j.quascirev.2017.01.008⟩. ⟨hal-01610264⟩
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