Lichenometry in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru

in cooperation with V.Jomelli, A.Ames, and G.Kaser

This paper (Solomina et al., 2006) is a comparison and compilation of lichenometric and geomorphic studies performed by two independent teams in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru, in 1996 and 2002 on 66 "Little Ice Age" moraines of 14 glaciers (FIG. 1). Using eleven new control points (FIG. 2), we recalibrated the initial rapid growth phase of the previously established Rhizocarpon subgenus Rhizocarpon growth curve (FIG. 3). This curve was then used to estimate the age of Little Ice Age moraines. The time of deposition of the most prominent and numerous terminal and lateral moraines on the Pacific-facing side of the Cordillera Blanca (between AD 1590 and AD 1720) corresponds to the coldest and wettest phase in the tropical Andes as revealed by ice core data from Huascaran and Quelccaya (Thompson et al, 2000) (ice core). Less prominent advances occurred between AD 1780 and 1880 (FIG. 4). Agreement of the 1996 and 2002 lichenometric records obtained independently by two teams adds confidence to the reliability of the younger part of the lichenometric curve, presented here. Besides the moraine dating, the improved growth curve might be of interest for archeologists, working on high-elevation sites in Cordillera Blanca.

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Fig. 1 Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

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