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Palaeoglaciation of Bayan Har Shan, northeastern Tibetan Plateau: glacial geology indicates maximum extents limited to ice cap and ice field scales

  • Jakob Heyman
  • Arjen P. Stroeven
  • Helena Alexanderson
  • Clas Hattestrand
  • Jon Harbor
  • Yingkui Li
  • Marc W. Caffee
  • Liping Zhou
  • Daniel Veres
  • Feng Liu
  • Martin Machiedo
Publishing year: 2009
Language: English
Pages: 710-727
Publication/Series: Journal of Quaternary Science
Volume: 24
Issue: 7
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

Abstract english

Key locations within an extensive area of the northeastern Tibetan Plateau, centred on Bayan Har Shan, have been mapped to distinguish glacial from non-glacial deposits. Prior work suggests palaeo-glaciers ranging from valley glaciers and local ice caps in the highest mountains to a regional or even plateau-scale ice sheet. New field data show that glacial deposits are abundant in high mountain areas in association with large-scale glacial landforms. in addition, glacial deposits are present in several locations outside areas with distinct glacial erosional landforms, indicating that the most extensive palaeo-glaciers had little geomorphological impact on the landscape towards their margins. The glacial geological record does indicate extensive maximum glaciation, with local ice caps covering entire elevated mountain areas. However, absence of glacial traces in intervening lower-lying plateau areas suggests that local ice caps did not merge to form a regional ice sheet on the northeastern Tibetan Plateau around Bayan Har Shan. No evidence exists for past ice sheet glaciation. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • Geology
  • glacial deposits
  • Tibetan Plateau
  • Bayan Har
  • glacial extent
  • palaeoglaciology


  • ISSN: 1099-1417
Helena Alexandersson
E-mail: helena [dot] alexanderson [at] geol [dot] lu [dot] se


Quaternary Sciences

+46 46 222 44 83



Aeolian sand project

Project members
Members of the aeolian sand project: Martin Bernhardson, Sara Florén, Edyta Kalińska-Nartiša and Helena Alexanderson.

Read more about the project here.