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Numerical modeling investigations of the subglacial conditions of the southern Laurentide ice sheet

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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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  • 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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