Persistence of Holocene ice cap in northeast Svalbard aided by glacio-isostatic rebound

Wesley R. Farnsworth, Ólafur Ingólfsson, Skafti Brynjólfsson, Lis Allaart, Sofia E. Kjellman, Kurt H. Kjær, Nicolaj K. Larsen, Marc Macias-Fauria, Marie-Louise Siggaard-Andersen, Anders Schomacker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The deglaciation of the Svalbard-Barents Sea Ice Sheet was driven by relative sea-level rise, the incursion of North Atlantic waters around Spitsbergen, and increasing summer insolation. However, ice retreat was interrupted by asynchronous re-advances that occurred into high relative seas, during a period associated with warm regional waters and elevated summer temperatures. Better understanding of this complex style of deglaciation and the dynamic response to a warming climate can serve as an important analogue for modern warming and today's ice sheets. We present evidence from northern Svalbard of glacier re-advances during the Late Glacial-Early Holocene in hand with relative sea-level history and the occurrence of thermophilous molluscs. We argue that glacio-isostatic adjustment during the transition into the Holocene influenced ice marginal dynamics and as a result, the southern region of the Åsgardfonna ice cap persisted through the Holocene Thermal Maximum.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108625
Number of pages16
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2024


  • Glacio-isostatic rebound effect
  • Holocene thermal maximum
  • Relative sea-level change
  • Thermophilous molluscs

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 2: Water Resources


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