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Tilting of Lake Pielinen, eastern Finland – an example of extreme transgressions and regressions caused by differential post-glacial isostatic uplift

DOI: 10.3176/earth.2012.3.02

Keywords: glacial isostasy , post-glacial uplift , lake tilting , future projection , GIS modelling.

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Abstract:

Tilting of large lakes due to differential isostatic uplift in the glaciated regions of the Northern Hemisphere is a well-documented process. With the help of accurate digital elevation models and spatial GIS analysis techniques, the resulting hydro-logical changes, including shifts in the outlets and changes in the size and configuration of lakes, can now be mapped and calculated more precisely than before. As a case study to highlight the magnitude of such changes in Fennoscandia, we investigated and reinterpreted the Holocene palaeogeography and palaeohydrology of Lake Pielinen in eastern Finland. This lake is currently 99 km long and located parallel to the direction of land uplift, being thus particularly sensitive to the impacts of tilting. Our results show that the lake was formed at the end of the regional deglaciation, following drainage of a local ice-dammed lake. In its initial stage until 10 200 cal yr BP, the outlet of the newly-formed lake was located in its northwestern end, but the tilting led to a major water level transgression in the basin, eventually causing formation of a new outlet over the southeastern threshold. The lake area was 143 km long and its area was 1998 km2 at the time of formation of the southeastern outlet at 10 200 cal yr BP. The lake level has been regressive throughout the basin during the last 10 200 years. This regression will continue for approximately another 10 000 years until all the glacial isostatic adjustment has occurred, after which Lake Pielinen will be only 89 km long and 565 km2 in area.

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