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Subdivision of Glacial Deposits in Southeastern Peru Based on Pedogenic Development and Radiometric Ages

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Adam Y. Goodman
Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, 13244
Donald T. Rodbell
Department of Geology, Union College, Schenectady, New York, 12308
Geoffrey O. Seltzer
Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, 13244
Bryan G. Mark
Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, 13244


The Cordillera Vilcanota and Quelccaya Ice Cap region of southern Peru (13°30′–14°00′S; 70°40′–71°25′W) contains a detailed record of late Quaternary glaciation in the tropical Andes. Quantification of soil development on 19 moraine crests and radiocarbon ages are used to reconstruct the glacial history. Secondary iron and clay increase linearly in Quelccaya soils and clay accumulates at a linear rate in Vilcanota soils, which may reflect the semicontinuous addition of eolian dust enriched in secondary iron to all soils. In contrast, logarithmic rates of iron buildup in soils in the Cordillera Vilcanota reflect chemical weathering; high concentrations of secondary iron in Vilcanota tills may mask the role of eolian input to these soils. Soil-age estimates from extrapolation of field and laboratory data suggest that the most extensive late Quaternary glaciation occurred >70,000 yr B.P. This provides one of the first semiquantitative age estimates for maximum ice extent in southern Peru and is supported by a minimum-limiting age of ∼41,520 14C yr B.P. A late glacial readvance culminated ∼16,650 cal yr B.P. in the Cordillera Vilcanota. Following rapid deglaciation of unknown extent, an advance of the Quelccaya Ice Cap occurred between ∼13,090 and 12,800 cal yr B.P., which coincides approximately with the onset of the Younger Dryas cooling in the North Atlantic region. Moraines deposited <394 cal yr B.P. in the Cordillera Vilcanota and <300 cal yr B.P. on the west side of the Quelccaya Ice Cap correlate with Little Ice Age moraines of other regions.

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University of Washington

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