Pleistocene stratigraphy of Kongsfjordhallet, Spitsbergen, Svalbard

  • Michael Houmark-Nielsen
  • Svend Funder


Open sections along Kongsfjodhallet, the north-western coast Kongsfjorden, Svalbard, exhibit marine and glacigenic sediments of Early to Late Plestocene age. Glaciatio, deglaciation and subsequent isostatic rebound caused the formation of three sedimentary successions (A, B and C) that comprise till grading upward into glaciomarine mud, followed by shell-bearing sand, and finally littoral sand and gravel. Six major lithostratigraphic units are recognized. Succession C comprises units 1 and 2, which were deposited during an Early Pleistocene glaciation, followed by deglaciation and subsequent beach progradation. Succession B is divisible into units 3 and 4 and reflects glaciation and eventual emergence as a result of isostatic response. The youngest succesion (A) comprises units 5 and 6, and reflects fiord glaciation followed by a regression during an Early Weichselian glaciation-deglaciation episode. Ice-free conditions may have prevailed untill the Late Weichselian, when a glaciation, confined to the fiord trough, covered parts of Kongsfjordhallet. Deglaciation and isostatic rebound are recorded by Holocene marine terraces up to ca 40 m a. s. l. Marine and glacial events from Kongsfjordhallet are compared with stratigraphic evidence from adjacent regions and it is suggested that the Late Weichselian ice configuration was of a more restricted nature than proposed by previous authors. Glaciers. draining through the larger ford troughs reached the shelf break. while at the same time other parts of western Svalbard could have experienced restricted glaciation.


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How to Cite
Houmark-Nielsen, M., & Funder, S. (1999). Pleistocene stratigraphy of Kongsfjordhallet, Spitsbergen, Svalbard. Polar Research, 18(1), 39-50.
Research/review articles