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Recurring Jökulhlaups in Sälka, Northern Sweden

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An ice-dammed lake at the margin of the glacier Sälkaglaciären, in the Kebnekaise Mountains in northern Sweden, drained suddenly in July 2003 producing a flood with a measured peak discharge of 9.5±0.25 m3s-1. The total lake volume of 4.55×105 million3 drained within two days. The hydrograph of this event is characteristic of a jökulhlaup controlled by a single basal ice tunnel that enlarges due to melting. The jökulhlaup had an exponential rise to a peak discharge, and following the peak, a very steep fall in discharge as the water supply to the drainage system ceased. A similar jökulhlaup was observed in August 1990 with an estimated release of 8.05×105 m3 water. Jökulhlaups at Sälkaglaciären are recurring events and have been indirectly observed since the 1950s.

Keywords: Outburst flood; glacier; hydrograph; ice-dammed lake; jökulhlaup; northern Sweden; peak-discharge; polythermal glacier

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: June 1, 2004


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