Ice Complex formation on Bol'shoy Lyakhovsky Island (New Siberian Archipelago, East Siberian Arctic) since about 200 ka

Sebastian Wetterich, Natalia Rudaya, Vladislav Kuznetsov, Fedor Maksimov, Thomas Opel, Hanno Meyer, Frank Günther, Anatoly Bobrov, Elena Raschke, Heike H. Zimmermann, Jens Strauss, Anna Starikova, Margret Fuchs, Lutz Schirrmeister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Late Quaternary landscapes of unglaciated Beringia were largely shaped by ice-wedge polygon tundra. Ice Complex (IC) strata preserve such ancient polygon formations. Here we report on the Yukagir IC from Bol'shoy Lyakhovsky Island in northeastern Siberia and suggest that new radioisotope disequilibria (230Th/U) dates of the Yukagir IC peat confirm its formation during the Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 7a-c interglacial period. The preservation of the ice-rich Yukagir IC proves its resilience to last interglacial and late glacial-Holocene warming. This study compares the Yukagir IC to IC strata of MIS 5, MIS 3, and MIS 2 ages exposed on Bol'shoy Lyakhovsky Island. Besides high intrasedimental ice content and syngenetic ice wedges intersecting silts, sandy silts, the Yukagir IC is characterized by high organic matter (OM) accumulation and low OM decomposition of a distinctive Drepanocladus moss-peat. The Yukagir IC pollen data reveal grass-shrub-moss tundra indicating rather wet summer conditions similar to modern ones. The stable isotope composition of Yukagir IC wedge ice is similar to those of the MIS 5 and MIS 3 ICs pointing to similar atmospheric moisture generation and transport patterns in winter. IC data from glacial and interglacial periods provide insights into permafrost and climate dynamics since about 200 ka.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-548
Number of pages19
JournalQuaternary Research (United States)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Beringia
  • Cryostratigraphy
  • Ice wedges
  • Pollen
  • Radioisotope disequilibria dating
  • Stable isotopes

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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