The Ticino-Toce glacier system (Swiss-Italian Alps) in the framework of the Alpine Last Glacial Maximum

Kamleitner, Sarah; Ivy-Ochs, Susan; Monegato, Giovanni; Gianotti, Franco; Akçar, Naki; Vockenhuber, Christof; Christl, Marcus; Synal, Hans-Arno (2022). The Ticino-Toce glacier system (Swiss-Italian Alps) in the framework of the Alpine Last Glacial Maximum. Quaternary science reviews, 279, p. 107400. Elsevier 10.1016/j.quascirev.2022.107400

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We present a new glacier chronology from one of the major end moraine systems of the Southern Alps. Timing and extent of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) advance of the Ticino-Toce glacier were reconstructed in detail based on landform relationships and surface exposure dating. 10Be and 36Cl ages from 41 erratic boulders constrain the last maximum of the Ticino-Toce glacier to have lasted from 25.0 ± 0.9 ka to 19.9 ± 0.7 ka. Over this period of ca. 5000 years the Ticino-Toce glacier underwent only minor oscillations, during which the glacier front remained close to its LGM maximum position. Underpinned by our detailed geomorphological reconstruction, the ages further demonstrate that the Verbano piedmont lobe was significantly larger (about 200 km2) than shown on recent maps. A short-lived glacier readvance around 19.7 ± 1.1 ka terminated internal to the LGM maximum margins. Collapse of the Verbano lobe must have set in soon after and final withdrawal from the foreland occurred no later than 19 ka. The new Ticino-Toce chronology matches temporal constraints of major glacier systems emerging from adjacent Alpine accumulation areas. This points to in-phase glacier advances across the Western Alps, apart from the southwestern massifs for which a slightly earlier reaching of the Late Pleistocene maximum position of the Lyon lobe was shown recently. A two- potentially three-fold LGM advance structure with intervening retreat intervals, as reported for two major amphitheatres (Garda, Tagliamento) to the east is distinctly not supported by our data for the Ticino-Toce glacier. This contrast in glacier behaviour between the central and eastern Southern Alps is ascribed to shifting precipitation patterns after ca. 23–22 ka, away from southern to predominantly northwestern air flow and a greater independence of southerly moisture transport for the central Southern Alps.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Akçar, Naki


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology








Naki Akçar

Date Deposited:

30 Mar 2022 14:20

Last Modified:

03 Apr 2022 01:55

Publisher DOI:





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