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Post-glacial rock weathering processes on a roche moutonnée in the Riksgränsen area (68°N), northern Norway

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Weathering processes responsible for landscape denudation in Arctic environments are poorly understood. Traditionally, gelifraction has been widely invoked as the dominant weathering process, but empirical support for this is frequently lacking. In Norwegian Lapland, post-glacial weathering has been recently attributed to predominantly biophysical processes, based on field measurements of landscape lowering undertaken by André (1995). The study reported here examined bedrock samples from one of André's sites for mineralogical and chemical transformations since post-glacial exposure. Backscatter scanning electron microscopy reveals extensive mineral grain dissolution and accompanying development of rock porosity. Wavelength dispersive spectroscopy shows these mineral alterations to be the result of the loss of major chemical constituents including Ca, Mg, K, Si, and Al. Chemical weathering is clearly a component of post-glacial landscape denudation in Norwegian Lapland, in addition to the important role of biophysical processes identified by André (1995). Cosmogenic dating of the sampled bedrock surface confirms that much of this weathering has occurred in the last 10,000 years.

Keywords: Lapland; chemical weathering; landscape evolution

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geosciences University of Arkansas Fayetteville AR 72701 USA 2: Department of Geography University of Illinois Urbana IL 61801 USA 3: Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences University of Illinois Urbana IL 61801 USA 4: Department of Geography University of Kentucky Lexington KY 40506 USA

Publication date: December 1, 2002


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