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Glaciodynamic context of subglacial bedform generation and preservation

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Subglacially-produced drift lineations provide spatially extensive evidence of ice flow that can be used to aid reconstructions of the evolution of former ice sheets. Such reconstructions, however, are highly sensitive to assumptions made about the glaciodynamic context of lineament generation; when during the glacial cycle and where within the ice sheet were they produced. A range of glaciodynamic contexts are explored which include: sheet-flow submarginally restricted; sheet-flow pervasive; sheet-flow patch; ice stream; and surge or re-advance. Examples of each are provided. The crux of deciphering the appropriate context is whether lineations were laid down time-transgressively or isochronously. It is proposed that spatial and morphometric characteristics of lineations, and their association with other landforms, can be used as objective criteria to help distinguish between these cases.

A logically complete ice-sheet reconstruction must also account for the observed patches of older lineations and other relict surfaces and deposits that have survived erasure by subsequent ice flow. A range of potential preservation mechanisms are explored, including: cold-based ice; low basal-shear stresses; shallowing of the deforming layer; and basal uncoupling.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1999-01-01

More about this publication?
  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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