Rock-Avalanche Activity in W and S Norway Peaks After the Retreat of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet Open image in new window

  • Reginald L. HermannsEmail author
  • Markus Schleier
  • Martina Böhme
  • Lars Harald Blikra
  • John Gosse
  • Susan Ivy-Ochs
  • Paula Hilger
Conference paper


We have compiled recently published and unpublished cosmogenic 10Be exposure ages of rock-avalanche deposits and break away scars in western and southern Norway in order to compare those to the retreat of the Scandinavian ice sheet. In total 22 rock-avalanche events were dated by their deposits (19) or break away scars (3). Sampling of rock-avalanche deposits and failure surfaces was not systematic over the region but with few exceptions we sampled all deposits within the same valley. All ages were recently calculated using the CRONUS online calculator and the geochronology ensemble reveal five late Pleistocene events, eight Preboreal events, and nine younger events. The decay of the Scandinavian ice sheet was not spatially synchronous but differed regionally and lasted over several thousand years in places, hence the requirement for widespread dating targets. One rock avalanche (at Innerdalen at 14.1 ka) occurred when ice existed in the valley, which is in agreement with the latest deglacial models. Depositional characteristics of ten (44%) of the rock avalanches suggest ice free conditions although they occurred within the first millennia following local deglaciation. Five events (22%) occurred between 9 and 7.5 ka at a time when climate was warmer and moister than today. Finally seven events (30%) appear to be relatively evenly distributed throughout the rest of the Holocene. Although limited in number we interpret that the dated events are representative of the temporal distribution of post-ice sheet rock avalanches in western Norway. However, the number of rock avalanches occurring onto the decaying ice sheet is likely underrepresented as those deposits are reworked and can be difficult to distinguish from moraine deposits. Our widespread data reveal a rapid rock slope instability response to the initial local decay of the Scandinavian ice sheet followed by a lower and constant frequency following the climate optimum (ca. 8.5 ka) in the Holocene.


Decay of the scandinavian ice sheet Cosmogenic nuclide Surface exposure dating Rock-avalanche deposit Late pleistocene Holocene Preboreal Fast response 



Field work and age determination of samples taken in 2003 were financed through the Excellence Centre “International Centre for Geohazards” financed by the Norwegian Research Council. Later samples were taken partly financed through the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) and partly through a Ph.D. thesis by M. Schleier. R.L. Hermanns got funding to write this publication through the NFR-funded CryoWALL project (243784/CLE).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reginald L. Hermanns
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Markus Schleier
    • 3
  • Martina Böhme
    • 1
  • Lars Harald Blikra
    • 4
  • John Gosse
    • 5
  • Susan Ivy-Ochs
    • 6
  • Paula Hilger
    • 1
  1. 1.Geological Survey of NorwayTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department of Geoscience and PetroleumNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.GeoZentrum NordbayernUniversity of Erlangen-Nuremberg ErlangenErlangenGermany
  4. 4.Norwegian Water and Energy DirectorateTrondheimNorway
  5. 5.Department of Earth SciencesDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  6. 6.ETH ZurichInstitute for Particle PhysicsZurichSwitzerland

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