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Anales del Instituto de la Patagonia

On-line version ISSN 0718-686X


KILIAN, R et al. Late Glacial and Holocene Paleogeographical and Paleoecological Evolution of the Seno Skyring and Otway Fjord Systems in the Magellan Region. Anales Instituto Patagonia (Chile) [online]. 2013, vol.41, n.2, pp.5-26. ISSN 0718-686X.

Terrace systems indicate that the Seno Otway and Skyring, and the Última Esperanza fjord formed the largest interconnected proglacial lake system of southern Patagonia (5700 km2) during the early deglaciation (<18 to 14 kyr BP). It drained through the eastern Seno Otway towards the Atlantic. The retreat of glaciers from the Jerónimo Channel at around 14.0 cal kyr caused a mega outflow event (320 km3) which lowered the Seno Otway lake level by 95 m and initiated a marine transgression as well as an intensive long term erosion of newly exposed shore lines around the Seno Otway. Between 11 to 10 kyr BP a more limited marine transgression occurred to the eastern sector of Seno Skyring, probably through the Gajardo Channel. This was caused by a further glacier retreat around the Gran Campo Nevado Ice Cap (GCN) during the early Holocene southern hemisphere thermal maximum (after 12 kyr BP). The salinities of the Seno Otway (28-30 psu) and Seno Skyring (17-21 psu) remained low throughout the Holocene. However, restricted salinity variations occurred due to further isostatic changes affecting the marine water inflow across sills as well as the interplay of precipitation/evaporation. The salinity changes affected clay mineral flocculation and sediment transport as well as aquatic ecosystems. In particular, Neoglacial glacier advances modified the degree of the marine transgression in this Andean sector due to closure of fjords and isostatic effects. Glaciers closed the Gajardo Channel and the outflow of Lago Muñoz Gamero at least several times in the periods from 3.0 to 2.2 and from 1.0 to 0.1 kyr BP, and left some glacial clay fingerprints in Seno Otway and Skyring sediments. Aquatic environment in fjord regions with stepper slopes in the western Seno Skyring and Otway area were also affected by regular mass flow events, partly triggered by earthquakes and events of extreme precipitation. Holocene tephra depositon caused additional impacts.

Keywords : Proglacial lacustrine system; Jerónimo Channel; Transgression; Gajardo Channel; Holocene.

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