Numerical modeling investigations of the subglacial conditions of the southern Laurentide ice sheet
Abstract:Sub- and proglacial bed conditions influence advance and retreat of an ice sheet. The existence and distribution of frozen ground is of major importance for better understanding of ice-flow dynamics and landform formation. The southern margin of the Laurentide ice sheet (LIS) was dominated by the presence of relatively thin ice lobes that seem to have been very sensitive to external and internal physical conditions. Their extent and dynamics were highly influenced by the interaction of subglacial and proglacial conditions. A three-dimensional thermomechanical ice-sheet model was coupled with a model for the thermal regime in the upper Earth crust. The model has been applied to the LIS in order to investigate the spatial distribution of thermal conditions at the bed. The evolution of the whole LIS was modeled for the last glacial cycle, with primary attention on correct reconstruction of the southern margin. Our results show extensive temporal and spatial frozen ground conditions. Only a slow degradation of permafrost under the ice was found. We conclude that there are significant interactions between the ice sheet and the underlying frozen ground and that these influence both ice dynamics and landform development.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2005
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