Integrated acoustic and coring investigation of glacigenic deposits in Spitsbergen fjords

  • Liv Plassen
  • Tore O. Vorren
  • Matthias Forwick

Abstract

In many areas of Svalbard, the Neoglacial terminal deposits represent the Holocene glacial maximum. The glaciers began the retreat from their Neoglacial maximum positions around 1900 AD. Based on high resolution acoustic data and sediment cores, sedimentation patterns in four tidewater glacier-influenced inlets of the fjord Isfjorden (Tempelfjorden, Billefjorden, Yoldiabukta and Borebukta), Spitsbergen, were investigated. A model for sedimentation of tidewater glaciers in these High Arctic environments is proposed. Glacigenic deposits occur in proximal and distal basins. The proximal basins comprise morainal ridges and hummocky moraines, bounded by terminal moraines marking the maximum Neoglacial ice extent. The distal basins are characterized by debris lobes and draping stratified glacimarine sediments beyond, and to some extent beneath and above, the lobes. The debris lobe in Tempelfjorden is composed of massive clayey silt with scattered clasts. Distal glacimarine sediments comprise stratified clayey silt with low ice-rafted debris (IRD) content. The average sedimentation rate for the glacimarine sediments in Tempelfjorden is 17 mm/yr for the last ca. 130 years. It is suggested that the stratified sediments in Tempelfjorden are glacimarine varves. The high sedimentation rate and low IRD content are explained by input from rivers, in addition to sedimentation from suspension of glacial meltwater. The debris lobes in Borebukta are composed of massive clayey silt with high clast content. Distal glacimarine sediments in Yoldiabukta comprise clayey silt with high IRD content. The average sedimentation rate for these sediments is 0.6 mm/yr for the last 2300 years.

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Published
2004-06-01
How to Cite
Plassen, L., Vorren, T., & Forwick, M. (2004). Integrated acoustic and coring investigation of glacigenic deposits in Spitsbergen fjords. Polar Research, 23(1), 89-110. https://doi.org/10.3402/polar.v23i1.6269
Section
Research/review articles