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Deltas in the Abisko area, northern Sweden: the Abiskojokka delta in lake Torneträsk

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Several small river deltas are found within the Abisko area. This study deals with the Abiskojokka delta in Lake Torneträsk. The aim is to describe the recent delta and its morphological development since the middle 1960s. In the apex of the delta, bars consist of boulders and cobbles while the mouth–bars are built by pebbles, gravel and to some extent sand. Birch vegetation is found on the sandy levées while willows and sedges dominate the interlevée basins. Mouth bars close to the lake generally lack vegetation. A comparison of the map in the present study with a map from 1965 shows comparatively small changes since 1964. Similar results are achieved when comparing aerial photographs from 1959 and 2000. Thus, the growth of the Abiskojokka delta is rather small compared to several other deltas in the Scandinavian mountains. This low growth rate is a result of upstream lakes trapping the major part of the fluvial sediments. Therefore, most of the delta sediment is redistributed old glaciofluvial material from the terraces within the Abiskojokka valley. Some material might also emanate from the Abiskojokka canyon. Formation of the main part of the delta is probably associated with the lowering of the Torneträsk ice–lakes, during and after the deglaciation of the region. Although some extreme rainstorm events have occurred in the area during recent decades, the effects of these on the delta are small. The result of such events is, however, visible as deposition of sand and silt on the levées after flooding. On the other hand, the shoreline and the mouth bars are continuously changing due to rather high wave energy especially during northerly winds. Along several mouth bars, spits are formed and reformed due to wave action. Minor changes of, and within, the two main distributaries have also been noticed, especially as bank erosion and redistribution of bars. The project will continue with a survey of the distal slope (foreset slope) of the delta as well as a study (including X–ray radiography) of the bottom sediments in Lake Torneträsk close to the delta front. The upstream deltas within this drainage basin as well as other deltas within the Torneträsk region will be studied.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Växjö University, Sweden 2: Abisko Scientific Research Station, Sweden

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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