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GlaciEr-Alps: Glacier dynamics, erosion patterns and Alpine paleoclimate over the last glacial cycle

Applicant Valla Pierre
Number 170559
Funding scheme SNSF Professorships
Research institution Institut für Geologie Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Geology
Start/End 01.04.2017 - 31.03.2021
Approved amount 1'263'372.00
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Keywords (6)

Glacial erosion; Earth-surface geochronology; Quaternary glaciation; ice dynamics; European Alps; paleoclimate

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Les reliefs de montagne et les paysages alpins sont façonnés par les interactions entre les processus tectoniques, climatiques, et l'action des agents géomorphologiques (érosion/sédimentation). Les études scientifiques sur l'évolution des reliefs alpins ont démontré l'existence de rétroactions topographiques sur ces interactions entre processus internes et externes, notamment depuis la mise en place des glaciations Quaternaires (i.e. les derniers 2.6 millions d'années). Cependant, la nature précise de ces interactions, ainsi que les processus physiques et les échelles de temps impliquées, entre changement climatique long-terme, érosion glaciaire et évolution des reliefs alpins restent mal quantifiés.
Lay summary

La visée de ce projet est donc d'étudier les interactions entre variabilité climatique, paléo-dynamique glaciaire, et érosion des reliefs montagneux dans les Alpes Européennes (Suisse et France) et durant les conditions paléoclimatiques du dernier cycle glaciaire (i.e. les derniers environ 100 000 ans). Ces échelles de temps nous permettent de cibler des archives sédimentologiques et géomorphologiques détaillées afin d'obtenir des informations à haute résolution sur les processus physiques impliqués.

Plus spécifiquement, le projet s’attèlera à (1) reconstruire les fluctuations glaciaires et conditions paléoclimatiques associées dans les massifs Alpins, via le développement de nouveaux outils méthodologiques en géochronologie et paléothermométrie, et (2) quantifier la variabilité spatio-temporelle de l'érosion glaciaire et du transport de sédiments dans les Alpes et l'avant-pays Alpin.  

Ce projet de recherche fournira de nouvelles connaissances sur la dynamique des systèmes glaciaires et les processus de production/transfert sédimentaire sous les glaciers. Ces résultats pourraient avoir des implications importantes sur notre compréhension des environnements de montagne et des processus d'érosion/sédimentation en lien avec la dynamique glaciaire et la variabilité climatique, et ainsi sur notre capacité à prédire l’évolution des reliefs au long terme, dans un contexte de perturbations climatiques et environnementales.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.02.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Present-day uplift of the European Alps: Evaluating mechanisms and models of their relative contributions
Sternai Pietro, Sue Christian, Husson Laurent, Serpelloni Enrico, Becker Thorsten W., Willett Sean D., Faccenna Claudio, Di Giulio Andrea, Spada Giorgio, Jolivet Laurent, Valla Pierre, Petit Carole, Nocquet Jean-Mathieu, Walpersdorf Andrea, Castelltort Sébastien (2019), Present-day uplift of the European Alps: Evaluating mechanisms and models of their relative contributions, in Earth-Science Reviews, 190, 589-604.
SL Rock Surface and Rock Surface-Exposure Dating
KingGeorgina, VallaPierre, LehmannBenjamin (2019), SL Rock Surface and Rock Surface-Exposure Dating, in Bateman Mark (ed.), Whittles Publishing, Dunbeath, 1-12.
Evaluating post-glacial bedrock erosion and surface exposure duration by coupling in-situ OSL and <sup>10</sup>Be dating
Lehmann Benjamin, Herman Frédéric, Valla Pierre G., King Georgina E., Biswas Rabiul H. (2019), Evaluating post-glacial bedrock erosion and surface exposure duration by coupling in-situ OSL and <sup>10</sup>Be dating, in Earth Surface Dynamics Discussions, 1-38.
Characterising the luminescence behaviour of ‘infinitely old’ quartz samples from Switzerland
Lowick Sally, Valla Pierre (2018), Characterising the luminescence behaviour of ‘infinitely old’ quartz samples from Switzerland, in Quaternary Geochronology, 43, 1-11.
How reproducible are kinetic parameter constraints of quartz luminescence? An interlaboratory comparison for the 110 °C TL peak
Schmidt Christoph, Friedrich Johannes, Adamiec Grzegorz, Chruścińska Alicja, Fasoli Mauro, Kreutzer Sebastian, Martini Marco, Panzeri Laura, Polymeris Georgios, Przegiętka Krzysztof, Valla Pierre, King Georgina, Sanderson David (2018), How reproducible are kinetic parameter constraints of quartz luminescence? An interlaboratory comparison for the 110 °C TL peak, in Radiation Measurements, 110, 14-24.
Investigation of OSL surface exposure dating to reconstruct post-LIA glacier fluctuations in the French Alps (Mer de Glace, Mont Blanc massif)
Lehmann Benjamin, Valla Pierre, King Georgina, Herman Frederic (2018), Investigation of OSL surface exposure dating to reconstruct post-LIA glacier fluctuations in the French Alps (Mer de Glace, Mont Blanc massif), in Quaternary Geochronology, 44, 63-74.
Pedo-sedimentary constituents as paleoenvironmental proxies in the Sudano-Sahelian belt during the Late Quaternary (southwestern Chad Basin)
Diaz Nathalie, Dietrich Fabienne, Sebag David, King Georgina, Valla Pierre, Durand Alain, Garcin Yannick, de Saulieu Geoffroy, Deschamps Pierre, Herman Frederic, Verrecchia Eric (2018), Pedo-sedimentary constituents as paleoenvironmental proxies in the Sudano-Sahelian belt during the Late Quaternary (southwestern Chad Basin), in Quaternary Science Reviews, 191, 348-362.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Pisa Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, UC Berkeley United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University Denmark (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Institute of Geological Sciences, University of Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
European Geoscience Union Poster Late-glacial to Holocene sediment dynamics in high Alpine regions – insights from multimethod approach on aeolian deposits (Sanetsch Pass, Switzerland) 07.04.2019 Vienna, Austria Valla Pierre; Magrani Fabio; Serra Elena;
European Geoscience Union Poster When did the Lyon ice lobe (French Alps) reached its Late Pleistocene maximum extent? A new contribution to a long lasting debate. 07.04.2019 Vienna, Austria Gribenski Natacha; Valla Pierre;
European Geoscience Union Poster Spatial patterns of hidden glacial erosion: Morphometric analysis of Swiss overdeepenings 07.04.2019 Vienna, Austria Magrani Fabio; Valla Pierre;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting Poster Constraining the maximum glacial timing of the Lyon Lobe, French Alps, Using OSL dating 30.11.2018 Bern, Switzerland Valla Pierre; Gribenski Natacha;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting Poster Spatial patterns of glacial erosion in the Alpine foreland: Morphometric analysis of overdeepenings 30.11.2018 Bern, Switzerland Valla Pierre; Magrani Fabio;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting Poster Alpine Glacier Fluctuations and Paleoclimatic Reconstructions 30.11.2018 Bern, Switzerland Gribenski Natacha; Serra Elena; Valla Pierre;
16th International Conference on Thermochronology Talk given at a conference Late Cenozoic climate cooling, mountain erosion and relief evolution 16.09.2018 Quedlinburg, Germany Valla Pierre;
European Geoscience Union Talk given at a conference Orographic precipitation and landscape evolution in Basse Terre Island, Guadeloupe archipelago (Lesser Antilles Arc) 08.03.2018 Vienna, Austria Valla Pierre;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
German Luminescence and Electron Spin Resonance (DLED) 23.11.2018 Batenberg, Switzerland

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
148191 Tropical volcanic islands erosion and landscape evolution - Earth surface geochronology, morphometry and numerical modeling 01.10.2013 Ambizione
163994 Upgrading an extraction and purification line for measuring terrestrial cosmogenic noble gases 01.01.2016 R'EQUIP

Abstract

This proposal focuses on the interactions between paleo-glacier dynamics and mountain erosion in the western European Alps, during the paleoclimatic conditions of the last glacial cycle (100 kyr). The central objective is to develop a deeper understanding of both past climatic conditions and erosion patterns within the Alps and their foreland, using information presently available in the literature to identify the remaining gaps in the records and thus provide a more complete framework from a multi-disciplinary approach. The proposed research follows two complementary directions: (1) reconstructions of high-resolution glacier fluctuations and paleoclimatic conditions in the Alps using innovative methods in earth-surface geochronology; and (2) the quantification of glacial erosion patterns and subglacial sediment transport times from detailed investigation of the geological record in the Alpine foreland. Paleoclimatic and erosion data will then be used as quantitative constraints to calibrate numerical ice models, with the aim to investigate the long-term glacial evolution of the Alps and their foreland. This will ultimately provide a better understanding of the physical processes involved in glacial erosion and sediment transport beneath glaciers.
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