Understanding how glacier dynamics is recorded in lake and fjord sediments

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Project outline

Glaciers are currently retreating at an alarming rate worldwide as a consequence of global climate change. Since glaciers respond rapidly to changes in temperature and winter precipitation, reconstructing their behavior in the past can provide precious information regarding the evolution of the climate system. Traditional geomorphic techniques used to reconstruct the evolution of glaciers, however, provide records that are notoriously discontinuous. Proglacial sediments, on the other hand, have the potential to hold accurate, continuous, and high-resolution records of past glacier dynamics. They are therefore increasingly regarded as one of the best archives of past glacier variability. How changes in glacier dynamics are reflected in sediment physical and chemical properties remains however relatively unknown. With this in mind, this project will study sediment cores collected in Patagonian lakes and fjords fed by well-documented calving and land-based glaciers to determine the most accurate sediment tracers of glacier variability. We will purposely work on lakes and fjords fed by (a) advancing and (b) retreating glaciers to determine the sedimentary signature of the processes that are of interest in paleo-studies. Ultimately, this project will provide a much clearer picture of how glacier dynamics is recorded in lake and fjord sediments and it will identify proxies that are well suited to reconstruct past glacier dynamics worldwide.


PI: Sebastien Bertrand

PhD student (2016-2022): Loïc Piret

Blog posts


Los dos Reyes

Los dos Geolocos meet another Rey

A year of mud

“This is Patagonia”


Back in Patagonia: land of glaciers, rivers and research

Logging, trapping, releasing and recovering…

Visiting the only advancing glacier of Chilean Patagonia


Chasing Patagonian sediment

The best day of summer



News articles

La Tercera (April 2019)

El Divisadero