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Quaternary glaciation in the Nubra and Shyok valley confluence, northernmost Ladakh, India

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Jason M. Dortch*
Department of Geology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH45221, USA
Lewis A. Owen
Department of Geology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH45221, USA
Marc W. Caffee
Dept of Physics/PRIME Laboratory, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47906, USA
Corresponding author. E-mail (J.M. Dortch).


Three glacial stages (Deshkit 1, Deshkit 2 and Dishkit 3 glacial stages) are identified in the Nubra and Shyok valleys in northernmost Ladakh, northwest India, on the basis of geomorphic field mapping, remote sensing, and 10Be terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide surface exposure dating. The glacial stages date to ∼ 45 ka (Deshkit 1 glacial stage), ∼ 81 ka (Deshkit 2 glacial stage) and ∼ 144 ka (Deshkit 3 glacial stage). A mean equilibrium line altitude depression of ∼ 290 m for the Deshkit 1 glacial stage was calculated using the area accumulation ratio, toe-to-headwall ratio, area–altitude, and area–altitude balance ratio methods. Comparison of glaciation in the Nubra and Shyok valleys with glaciations in the adjacent Central Karakoram of northern Pakistan and northern side of the Ladakh Range of northern India indicates that glaciation was synchronous on Milankovitch timescales across the region during MIS-6, but differed greatly in extent, with more extensive glaciation in the Karakoram than the morphostratigraphically equivalent glaciation on the northern slopes of the Ladakh Range. This highlights the strong contrast in the extent of glaciation across ranges in the Himalaya–Tibetan orogen, necessitating caution when correlating glacial successions within and between mountain ranges.

Research Article
Univesity of Washington

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