Climate and Environmental Change

Present and Late Pleistocene equilibrium line altitudes in Changbai Mountains, Northeast China

  • 1. College of Urban and Environment Sciences, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, China|
    2. Department of Geography, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China

Received date: 2008-05-07

  Revised date: 2008-12-20

  Online published: 2009-06-25

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40571016


According to the glacial landforms and deposits with the optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating results, two glacial stages of the last glacial cycle (LGC) and Late Glacial were identified. The Late Glacial stage (Meteorological Station glacier advance) took place about 11 ka (11.3±1.2 ka), and the last glacial maximum (LGM), named Black Wind Mouth glacier advance, occurred at 20 ka (20.0±2.1 ka). Based on the Ohmura’s formula in which there is a relationship between summer (JJA) atmospheric temperature (T) and the annual precipitation (P) at ELA, the present theoretical equilibrium line altitude (ELAt) in Changbai Mountains was 3380±100 m. Six methods of accumulation–area ratio (AAR), maximum elevation of lateral moraines (MELM), toe–to headwall altitude ratios (THAR), the terminal to summit altitudinal (TSAM), the altitude of cirque floor (CF), and the terminal to average elevation of the catchment area (Hofer) were used for calculation of the former ELAs in different stages. These methods provided the ELA for a range of 2250–2383 m with an average value of 2320±20 m during the LGM, which is 200 m higher than the value of previous investigation. The snowlines during the Late Glacial are 2490 m on northern slope, and 2440 m on western slope. The results show that the snowline on northern slope is 50 m higher than that on western slope during the Late Glacial, and the average snowline is 2465m. The ELA △ values were more than 1000 m during the LGM, and about 920 m lower than now during the Late Glacial stage respectively. Compared with Taiwanese and Japanese mountains in East Asia during the LGM, the effect of the uplift on ELA in Changbai Mountains during the glaciations (i.e. 20 m uplift in the LGM and 11 m in the Late Glacial) is not obvious.

Cite this article

ZHANG Wei, CUI Zhijiu, YAN Ling . Present and Late Pleistocene equilibrium line altitudes in Changbai Mountains, Northeast China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2009 , 19(3) : 373 -383 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-009-0373-9