Holocene environmental changes in Dicksonfjorden, west Spitsbergen, Svalbard

  • Young Ji Joo Division of Polar Palaeoenvironment, Korea Polar Research Institute, Incheon, Republic of Korea
  • Matthias Forwick Department of Geosciences, UiT—The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
  • Kwangkyu Park Division of Polar Palaeoenvironment, Korea Polar Research Institute, Incheon, Republic of Korea
  • Youngjin Joe Division of Polar Palaeoenvironment, Korea Polar Research Institute, Incheon, Republic of Korea
  • Yeong Ju Son Division of Polar Palaeoenvironment, Korea Polar Research Institute, Incheon, Republic of Korea
  • Seung-Il Nam Division of Polar Palaeoenvironment, Korea Polar Research Institute, Incheon, Republic of Korea
Keywords: Svalbard, fjord, ice rafting, geochemistry, granulometry, sea ice


Multi-proxy analyses of two sediment cores from Dicksonfjorden were performed to reconstruct Holocene environmental conditions in this northern branch of Isfjorden, the largest fjord system in Svalbard. Factors affecting the depositional processes include shifts in sources of sediments, ice rafting and regional glacio-isostatic rebound. Sediments were derived from Palaeozoic siliciclastics and carbonates occurring at the fjord head and sides, respectively. Their relative contributions were controlled by falling relative sea level and the resulting progradation of the major stream and delta systems closer to the core sites. Deposition of clasts from sea-ice rafting persisted throughout most of the Holocene. Following a period of low, but continuous, clast fluxes (ca. 11 000–7000 calibrated years before the present), ice rafting was most intensive between ca. 7000 and 3000 calibrated years before the present. It can be related to extensive seasonal sea-ice formation caused by regional cooling. The prograding deltas also provided coarse sediments. Reduced ice rafting from ca. 3000 calibrated years before the present suggests enhanced formation of shorefast and/or permanent sea ice, suppressing sea-ice rafting in the fjord, in response to the cool climate and reduced heat flux from Atlantic Water. Episodic inflow of Atlantic Water and low turbidity of surface water can, however, account for a larger amount of marine organic matter produced in the outer fjord. The sedimentary record in Dicksonfjorden, where tidewater glaciers are absent, reflects similar climate and oceanographic variations as reconstructed in fjords on western Spitsbergen that are influenced by tidewater glaciers.


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How to Cite
Joo, Y. J., Forwick, M., Park, K., Joe, Y., Son, Y. J., & Nam, S.-I. (2019). Holocene environmental changes in Dicksonfjorden, west Spitsbergen, Svalbard. Polar Research, 38. https://doi.org/10.33265/polar.v38.3426
Research Articles