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Late Holocene glacial and periglacial evolution in the upper Orco Valley, northwestern Italian Alps

  • Carlo Giraudi

Abstract

The sediments present in some areas of the Orco Valley provide indications on climatic variations that occurred during the last 6000 years on the southern slopes of the Alps. In particular, distribution and ages of peat layers help define periods and extent of glacial fluctuation in the last 2200 years. Sampling of soils involved in periglacial processes provided a basis for development of a chronological framework of late Holocene environmental change. The data indicate a trend toward cooler climate in the second half of the Holocene. A strong relationship exists between phases of River Po flooding and expansion/retreat phases of the Swiss glaciers: major glacial advances were coeval with periods of intense flooding of the River Po, whereas the phases of glacial retreat coincided with periods of little flooding of the Po. Only in three cases do relationships between glacier activity and floods show weak correlations; two of the cases relate to the warmest periods in approximately the last 2200 years, while the third is the present period. Paleoclimatic evidence from the study region indicates the relatively warm Roman Period between about 2200 and 1900 cal yr BP appears to better represent modern conditions than does the Medieval Warm Period.

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*Fax: +39 0630486678. Email Address: giraudi@casaccia.enea.it

References

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