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Skaftafellsjökull, Iceland: glacial geomorphology recording glacier recession since the Little Ice Age

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-04-27, 13:14 authored by David J. A. Evans, Marek Ewertowski, Chris Orton

A 1:5700 scale map of the recently deglaciated foreland of Skaftafellsjökull, Iceland as it appeared in 2007, depicts a typical active temperate glacial landsystem with a clear pattern of sequentially changing push moraine morphologies, including remarkable hairpin-shaped moraines, indicative of spatial and temporal variability in process-form regimes in glacier sub-marginal settings. Similar to other Icelandic glacier forelands, this demonstrates that the piedmont glacier lobes of the region have developed strong longitudinal crevassing and well-developed ice-marginal pecten during their historical recession from the Little Ice Age maximum moraines, likely driven by extending ice flow and poorly drained sub-marginal conditions typical of the uncovering of overdeepenings. Additionally, the localized development of a linear tract of kame and kettle topography is interpreted as the geomorphic and sedimentary signature of thrust stacked and gradually melting debris-rich glacier ice, a feature hitherto unrecognized in the Icelandic active temperate lobe landsystem signature.


Fieldwork at Skaftafellsjökull was funded by the Royal Geographical Society. ME was supported by a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship, 7th Framework Programme (REA agreement number 299130).