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Rock Strength and Development of Glacial Valley Morphology in the Scottish Highlands and Northwest Iceland

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Using data from the Scottish Highlands and northwest Iceland, the present study indicates that bedrock strength properties are an important control on the morphology of glacial valleys. Results indicate that on closely jointed metasedimentary bedrock of low rock mass strength, broad U-shaped valleys are developed, whilst steeper sided, narrower cross-profiles have been developed on igneous bedrock of high rock mass strength. Findings suggest it is the interplay of the mass strength of the subglacial bedrock and the dynamic properties of the eroding glacier that control valley morphological development. The implication is that realistic models of topographic development beneath ice sheets need to consider the rock mass strength properties of the eroded bedrock as well as the glaciological variables.
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Keywords: glacial valley morphology; ice sheet; rock strength

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK

Publication date: 01 October 2004

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