Origin and significance of 'dispersed facies' basal ice: Svínafellsjökull, Iceland

Cook, S.J., Swift, D.A., Graham, D.J. and Midgley, N.G. ORCID: 0000-0003-0076-1785, 2011. Origin and significance of 'dispersed facies' basal ice: Svínafellsjökull, Iceland. Journal of Glaciology, 57 (204), pp. 710-720.

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Abstract

Dispersed facies basal ice - massive (i.e. structureless) ice with dispersed debris aggregates - is present at the margins of many glaciers and, as a product of internal glacial processes, has the potential to provide important information about the mechanisms of glacier flow and the nature of the subglacial environment. The origin of dispersed facies is poorly understood, with several hypotheses having been advanced for its formation, and there is disagreement as to whether it is largely a sedimentary or a tectonic feature. We test these established hypotheses at the temperate glacier Svfnafellsjokull, Iceland, and find that none fully account for dispersed facies characteristics at this location. Instead, dispersed facies physical, sedimentological and stable-isotope (5180, 8D) characteristics favour a predominantly tectonic origin that we suggest comprises the regelation and straininduced metamorphism of debris-rich basal ice that has been entrained into an englacial position by tectonic processes operating at the base of an icefall. Further thickening of the resultant dispersed facies may also occur tectonically as a result of ice flow against the reverse bed slope of a terminal overdeepening. Lack of efficient subglacial drainage in the region of the overdeepening may limit basal melting and thus favour basal ice preservation, including the preservation of dispersed facies. Despite the relatively low sediment content of dispersed facies (~1.6% by volume), its thickness (up to 25 m) and ubiquity at Svfnafellsjokull results in a significant contribution to annual sediment discharge (1635-3270 m3 a"1) that is ~6.5 times that contributed by debris-rich stratified facies basal ice.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Glaciology
Creators: Cook, S.J., Swift, D.A., Graham, D.J. and Midgley, N.G.
Publisher: International Glaciological Society (IGS)
Date: 2011
Volume: 57
Number: 204
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.3189/002214311797409703DOI
Rights: © IGS
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 09:49
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:11
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/3340

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