Terraces of different age in the Zackenberg delta, located at 74°N in northeast Greenland, have provided the opportunity for an interdisciplinary approach to the investigation of Holocene glacial, periglacial, pedological, biological and archaeological conditions that existed during and after delta deposition. The raised Zackenberg delta accumulated mainly during the Holocene Climatic Optimum, starting slightly prior to 9500 cal. yr BP (30 m a.s.l.) and continued until at least 6300 cal. yr BP (0.5 m a.s.l.). Evidence of sea-level change is based on conventional 14C dates of shells from the marine delta bottomsets, 14C AMS dating of macroscopic plant material from the foresets and of fluvial deposits. Arthropod and plant remains from 7960 cal. yr BP in the delta foresets include the oldest evidence of the arctic hare in Greenland and evidence of a rich herb flora slightly different from the modern flora. Empetrum nigrum and Salix herbacea remains indicate a summer temperature at least as high as today during delta deposition. Post-depositional nivation activity, dated by luminescence, lichenometry and Schmidt Hammer measurements indicate mainly late Holocene activity, at least since 2900 yr BP, including Little Ice Age (LIA) avalanche activity. Pedological analyses of fossil podsols in the Zackenberg delta, including 14C AMS dating of selected organic rich B-horizons, show continued podsol development during the Holocene Climatic Optimum and into the subsequent colder period of the late Holocene, until 3000-2400 yr BP. A Neo-Eskimo house ruin found on the lower part of the delta, presently being eroded by the sea, is dated to AD 1800. It presumably was abandoned prior to AD 1869, and suggests that some of the last Eskimos that lived in northeast Greenland might have occupied the Zackenberg delta.
- Programområde 5: Natur og klima