The Kap Mackenzie area on the outer coast of northeast Greenland was glaciated during the last glacial stage, and pre-Holocene shell material was brought to the area. Dating of marine shells indicates that deglaciation occurred in the earliest Holocene, before 10800cal. a BP. The marine limit is around 53m a.s.l. In the wake of the deglaciation, a glaciomarine fauna characterized the area, but after c. one millennium a more species-rich marine fauna took over. This fauna included Mytilus edulis and Mysella sovaliki, which do not live in the region at present; the latter is new to the Holocene fauna of northeast Greenland. The oldest M. edulis sample is dated to c. 9500cal. a BP, which is the earliest date for the species from the region and indicates that the Holocene thermal maximum began earlier in the region than previously documented. This is supported by driftwood dated to c. 9650cal. a BP, which is the earliest driftwood date so far from northeastern Greenland and implies that the coastal area was at least partly free of sea ice in summer. As indicated by former studies, the Storegga tsunami hit the Kap Mackenzie area at c. 8100cal. a BP. Loon Lake, at 18m a.s.l., was isolated from the sea at c. 6200cal. a BP, which is distinctly later than expected from existing relative sea-level curves for the region.
- Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate