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The imprint of catchment processes on Greenlandic ice cap proglacial lake records: analytical approaches and palaeoenvironmental significance

Adamson, K ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6272-1458, Lane, T, Carney, M, Delaney, C ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5846-2377 and Howden, A (2022) The imprint of catchment processes on Greenlandic ice cap proglacial lake records: analytical approaches and palaeoenvironmental significance. Journal of Quaternary Science. ISSN 0267-8179

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Abstract

Lakes fed by Greenlandic mountain glaciers and ice caps (GICs) contain important archives of Arctic palaeoenvironmental change. GIC proglacial lake records have been increasingly used to reconstruct Holocene glacier behaviour, largely focusing on macrostratigraphy. However, despite the wide range of topographic settings and catchment characteristics, there has been little systematic analysis of the ways that catchment conditions are registered in the clastic sediments of GIC lakes. Such signals provide valuable insights into landscape processes and palaeoenvironmental conditions that are not routinely captured in other Quaternary glacial morphosedimentary archives. This review synthesises sedimentological and geochemical evidence from existing Holocene GIC proglacial lake records to establish: how catchment-wide conditions have been recorded in the lacustrine sequences; and our ability to isolate these signals to enhance palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. Our review shows that with careful sedimentological and targeted (bio)geochemical analyses coupled with a clear process-based understanding, catchment and in-lake signals can be effectively identified in the microstratigraphic and mineral grain record. Such signals include wind patterns, mass wasting, precipitation events and seasonal lake ice cover, that can complement broader palaeoclimatic proxy evidence. The approaches collated here, if more widely applied, could considerably enhance environmental reconstructions not only in Greenland, but in glaciated catchments elsewhere.

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