Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Multiple Late Holocene surges of a High-Arctic tidewater glacier system in Svalbard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access Status

  • Embargoed (until 23/10/19)

Author(s)

Harold Lovell, Douglas I. Benn, Sven Lukas, Dag Ottesen, Adrian Luckman, Mark Hardiman, Lestyn D. Barr, Clare M. Boston, Heidi Sevestre

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Most large tidewater glaciers in Svalbard are known to have surged at least once in the last few hundred years. However, very little information exists on the frequency, timing or magnitude of surges prior to the Little Ice Age (LIA) maximum in ∼1900. We investigate the sediment-landform assemblages produced by multiple advances of the Nathorstbreen glacier system (NGS) in order to reconstruct its Late Holocene surge history. The glacier has recently undergone one of the largest surges ever observed in Svalbard, advancing ∼16 km from 2008 to 2016. We present flow velocities and ice-marginal observations (terminus change, proglacial geomorphological processes) from the later stages of this surge. A first detailed assessment of the development of a glaciotectonic mud apron within the fjord during a surge is provided. Geomorphological and sedimentological examination of the terrestrial moraine areas formed prior to the most recent surge reveals that at least two advances were responsible for their formation, based on the identification of a previously unrecognised ice-contact zone recorded by the distribution of sediment facies in coastal exposures. We distinguish between an outer, older advance to the distal part of the moraine system and an inner, younger advance to a position ∼2 km upfjord. Radiocarbon dating of shells embedded in glaciotectonic composite ridges formed by the onshore bulldozing of marine mud during the outer (older) of the two advances shows that it occurred at some point during the interval 700–890 cal. yr BP (i.e. ∼1160 AD), and not during the LIA as previously assumed. We instead attribute the inner (younger) advance to the LIA at ∼1890. By combining these data with previous marine geological investigations in inner and outer Van Keulenfjorden, we demonstrate that NGS has advanced at least four times prior to the recent 2008–2016 surge: twice at ∼2.7 kyr BP, at ∼1160 AD, and in ∼1890. This represents a unique record of the timing and magnitude of Late Holocene tidewater glacier surges in Svalbard.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-185
Number of pages24
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume201
Early online date23 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

    Research areas

  • Glacier surge, Glacial geomorphology, Glaciology, Little Ice Age, Holocene, Svalbard

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Automatic detection of calving events from time-lapse imagery at Tunabreen, Svalbard

    Vallot, D., Adinugroho, S., Strand, R., How, P., Pettersson, R., Benn, D. & Hulton, N. R. J., 29 Mar 2019, In : Geoscientific Instrumentation Methods and Data Systems. 8, 1, p. 113-127 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Calving controlled by melt-under-cutting: detailed calving styles revealed through time-lapse observations

    How, P., Schild, K. M., Benn, D. I., Noormets, R., Kirchner, N., Luckman, A., Vallot, D., Hulton, N. R. J. & Borstad, C., 30 Jan 2019, In : Annals of Glaciology. First View, 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Physical conditions of fast glacier flow: 3. Seasonally-evolving ice deformation on Store Glacier, West Greenland

    Young, T. J., Christoffersen, P., Doyle, S. H., Nicholls, K. W., Stewart, C. L., Hubbard, B., Hubbard, A., Lok, L. B., Brennan, P., Benn, D. I., Luckman, A. & Bougamont, M., Jan 2019, In : Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface. 124, 1, p. 245-267 23 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Characterization of the englacial and subglacial drainage system in a high Arctic cold glacier by speleological mapping and ground-penetrating radar

    Temminghoff, M., Benn, D. I., Gulley, J. D. & Sevestre, H., 19 Nov 2018, In : Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography. Latest Articles, 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. The ice-free topography of Svalbard

    Fürst, J. J., Navarro, F., Gillet-Chaulet, F., Huss, M., Moholdt, G., Fettweis, X., Lang, C., Seehaus, T., Ai, S., Benham, T. J., Benn, D., Björnsson, H., Dowdeswell, J. A., Grabiec, M., Kohler, J., Lavrentiev, I., Lindbäck, K., Melvold, K., Pettersson, R., Rippin, D. & 6 othersSaintenoy, A., Sánchez-Gámez, P., Schuler, T. V., Sevestre, H., Vasilenko, E. & Braun, M. H., 5 Nov 2018, In : Geophysical Research Letters. Early View, 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Distribution and ecology of planktic foraminifera in the North Pacific: implications for paleo-reconstructions

    Taylor, B. J., Rae, J. W. B., Gray, W. R., Darling, K., Burke, A., Gersonde, R., Abelmann, A., Maier, E., Esper, O. & Ziveri, P., 1 Jul 2018, In : Quaternary Science Reviews. 191, p. 256-274 19 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Double the dates and go for Bayes — impacts of model choice, dating density and quality on chronologies

    Blaauw, M., Christen, J. A., Bennett, K. D. & Reimer, P. J., 15 May 2018, In : Quaternary Science Reviews. 188, p. 58-66 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. The MIS 13 interglacial at Ceprano, Italy, in the context of Middle Pleistocene vegetation changes in southern Europe

    Margari, V., Roucoux, K., Magri, D., Manzi, G. & Tzedakis, P. C., 1 Nov 2018, In : Quaternary Science Reviews. 199, p. 144-158 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Towards a Middle Pleistocene terrestrial climate reconstruction based on herpetofaunal assemblages from the Iberian Peninsula: state of the art and perspectives

    Blain, H-A., Cruz Silva, J. A., Jiménez Arenas, J. M., Margari, V. & Roucoux, K., 1 Jul 2018, In : Quaternary Science Reviews. 191, p. 167-188 22 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Related by journal

  1. Quaternary Science Reviews (Journal)

    Colin Ballantyne (Member of editorial board)
    2000 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

ID: 256369470