Seabed processes at high latitudes are known to involve ice and ice-related processes. Antarctic sedimentologic studies have outlined the glacial domination of major modern sedimentary processes and topographic features of the Antarctic shelf. The troughs, basins, and shoals of the shelf exhibit glacial and slump deposits, turbidites, and preglacial outcrops. The bed forms associated with the glacial and ice-related processes, as well as with the slumping and current-related processes, have not yet been defined. This study investigates the smaller scale bed forms and their relation to seabed processes.
The outcome of a cruise during January 1984 to the George V continental shelf is expected to show the major influence of icebergs in determining the modern morphology of the shoals and bank tops. The bed forms related to grounding of such iceblocks will help define the nature of ice/sea-floor interactions. We postulate that significant oceanic energy is expended on the sea floor through grounding of ice on the banks during the winter when wave and current activity under the ice is minimized. The depth of these shoals may be controlled in part by the maximum dominant keel depths of the ice shelf and of glacially calved iceblocks. On the basin slopes and floors, glacial, mass-failure, and current-related morphologies are expected to dominate.