The Rhone Glacier was smaller than today for most of the Holocene

Brent M. Goehring, Joerg M. Schaefer, Christian Schluechter, Nathaniel A. Lifton, Robert C. Finkel, A. J.Timothy Jull, Naki Akçar, Richard B. Alley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


We present the development and application of the novel in situ cosmogenic 14C/10Be chronometer to recently exposed proglacial bedrock of the Rhone Glacier, Switzerland. Results show that during the Holocene, the glacier was smaller than today for 6500 ± 2000 yr and larger than today for 4500 ± 2000 yr. This pattern is consistent with limited data from other techniques for glaciers in the Alps and Scandinavia, but in contrast to glaciers from the Southern Alps of New Zealand, emphasizing the high sensitivity of large mountain glaciers to small climate changes. The 14C/10Be chronometer also shows that abrasion rates beneath the Rhone Glacier increased with ice speed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)679-682
Number of pages4
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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