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Quantifying the erosional impact of the Fennoscandian ice sheet in the Torneträsk–Narvik corridor, northern Sweden, based on cosmogenic radionuclide data

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Despite spectacular landform evidence of a dominant role for glacial action in shaping landscapes under former northern hemisphere ice sheets, there is little quantitative evidence for rates and patterns of erosion associated with specific glaciations. Here we use cosmogenic nuclide data to assess rates of subglacial erosion underneath the Fennoscandian ice sheet. By testing whether there are remnant nuclide concentrations in samples taken from sites that include both relict areas and features and landscapes typically associated with vigorous glacial erosion, we can constrain the level and pattern of modification that resulted from the last glaciation. Cosmogenic 10Be and 36Cl data from the Torneträsk region confirm the temporal and spatial variability of glacial erosion suggested by geomorphological mapping. At some sites, glacial erosion estimates in what appear to be heavily scoured areas indicate erosion of only c. 2 ± 0.4 m of bedrock, based on cosmogenic nuclide inheritance. This implies that the generation of severely scoured terrain in this study area required multiple glaciations. The overall modification produced by ice sheets along glacial corridors may be more restricted than previously thought, or may have occurred preferentially during earlier Quaternary glacial periods.

Keywords: Kärkevagge; gelifluction; ice lens; strain–probe

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: Stockholm University, Sweden 2: Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 3: Purdue University, West Lafayette, USA 4: Stockholm University, Sweden,

Publication date: January 1, 2002


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