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Size distribution of two cross-cutting drumlin systems in northern Sweden: a measure of selective erosion and formation time length

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Nearly 9000 individual lineations (drumlins and flutes) from two ice-flow systems have been mapped over a 22 500 km2 area of northern Sweden by interpretation of aerial photographs. The lineations were classified according to their size and orientation to allow a quantitative analysis of their distribution. The two glacial lineation systems, separated in time by at least 100 000 years and two individual overriding ice sheets, cross-cut at a high angle. The older system occurs over the entire study area and is interpreted to have formed by prolonged sheet flow during Marine Isotope Stage 5d, while the youngest system is spatially restricted, marking the presence of a laterally constrained zone of faster ice flow, developed near the end of the last deglaciation. The effect of the younger ice flow was erosion and elimination of smaller lineations in the older system, while the larger drumlinoid forms survived more or less intact, thus creating an apparent increase in average drumlin size of the older lineation system. One possible explanation for the unaltered shape of these larger drumlins is that the glacier bed of the younger ice sheet only reached the pressure melting point in the lower parts of the terrain, thus eroding the smaller forms, while the larger forms protruded into colder parts of the ice mass and were protected from erosion and deformation. There was no evidence of the deformation of older drumlins into barchanoid shapes or the development of lee-side tail features on the distal side of pre-existing lineations, as has previously been described for crossing drumlin systems. The lack of any such deformational features suggests that the younger lineation system was formed by net erosion, rather than deformation or deposition.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1999-01-01

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  • 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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