Turkish Journal of Earth Sciences




The Munzur Mountains were subjected to extensive and repeated glaciations during the Pleistocene. The presence of an active glacier in the region was not verified until this study. Here, we used remote sensing methods to identify and locate the glaciers and verified the activity of the largest glacier in the field. We named this glacier the Şahintaşı Glacier and studied it using 3D ArcGIS spatial analyses overlaid on high-resolution Geographical Information Systems (GIS) satellite images. The most current version of LANDSAT 8 (acquired on 14.08.2013) supplied the remote sensing information. We used principal component analysis on the data. The precise areas where glaciers might be located were plotted. The data collection provided critical information to formulate an accurate representation of the Şahintaşı Glacier. The glacier dimensions are significant. It has a total area of 104,587 ± 10,458 m^2, with a length of 410 m, a width of 386 m, and an estimated maximum thickness of 90 ± 10 m. In the fore field, we identified 4 well-preserved terminal moraines. These moraines are remarkable in that the processes of their initial formation are immediately visible. The morphological properties of the cirque (its closure or high circularity, aspect, steepness, and near vertical walls), the high altitude, and the north-facing orientation are unique circumstances that have cumulatively helped preserve the Şahintaşı Glacier. The lithostratigraphic structure has had a large influence on the depth and circularity of the cirques. In the central section of the mountains, where the limestone is thicker, karstic development occurred vertically during the preglacial period, forming deep dolines that created steep-walled cirques and helped the glaciers survive until today. In addition, the mountains that are under the influence of northerly cold air masses in winter experience significant snowfall due to convective instability. The Munzur Mountains, which extend in an east-westerly direction in the manner of a 100-km wall and have summits surpassing 3000 m, allow for significant snow accumulation.


Munzur Mountains, Şahintaşı Glacier, Pleistocene glaciations, karst, glacial geomorphology, GIS and remote sensing

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