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Post-Younger Dryas deglaciation of the Greenland western margin as revealed by spatial analysis of lakes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Y Gorokhovich, Vincent Rinterknecht, J Rogers

School/Research organisations


Lake shapes and their spatial distribution are important geomorphological indicators in previously glaciated areas. Their shapes are influenced by the underlying geological structure and processes of glacial sediment deposition or erosion. Since these processes act on large areas, distribution of lakes can reflect the intensity of glacial erosional/depositional processes and their spatial extent. Landsat imagery was used to extract lake outlines from a selected pilot-study area on the widest ice-free coastal margin of the south-western Greenland north of Kangerlussuaq. Analysis included image classification and spatial analysis of lakes with elevation data using geographic information system (GIS) tools. A morphometric index was applied to extract kettle lakes as indicators of a specific glacial process – ice stagnation. Analysis of their spatial distribution helped in the reconstruction of glacial dynamics in formerly glaciated terrain. Our results show that spatial lake distribution combined with elevation analysis can be used to identify zones of glacial erosion and deposition. The highest concentrations of lakes within the study area occupy the elevation range between 164 and 361 m above sea level (a.s.l.). This zone can be identified as an area where intensive glacial erosion took place in the past. The widespread distribution of modeled kettle lake features within the same elevation range and across the study area suggests that the last deglaciation process was accompanied by abandonment of blocks of stagnant ice. This conclusion is supported by surface exposure ages obtained in the same study area and published elsewhere. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-809
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number6
Early online date13 Feb 2009
Publication statusPublished - May 2009

    Research areas

  • GIS analysis, remote sensing, kettle lakes, deglaciation, south-western Greenland

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