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Snæfellsjökull volcano-centred ice cap landsystem, West Iceland

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-01-20, 13:57 authored by David J.A. Evans, Marek Ewertowski, Chris Orton, Charlotte Harris, Snævarr Guðmundsson

A 1:10,526 scale map of Snæfellsjökull and its forelands is presented as the first landsystem exemplar of volcano-centred ice caps, for application to understanding glacierized volcanic terrains globally. Mapping of surface materials and landforms was undertaken using orthorectified aerial photographs taken in 2002 and results of ground truth fieldwork in 2010. Nine natural surficial geology units were identified in addition to bedrock, glacier ice and made ground associated with pumice mining. The spatial distribution of landforms and sediments throughout the forelands comprises extensive areas of ice-cored moraine, developed at the limit of the Little Ice Age readvance and located distal to extensive areas of fluted till and glacially abraded bedrock with occasional eskers. This is a widely recognized landsystem signature typical of former polythermal snout conditions at the Little Ice Age maximum. Proglacially, thrust pumice sheets also occur on the east flanks of the volcano where pre-existing deformable materials were susceptible to thrust block development.


Fieldwork at Snæfellsjökull was made possible by generous financial support from the Royal Geographical Society and a Land Rover from the Gordon Foundation. ME was supported by a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship, 7th Framework Programme [REA agreement number 299130].