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Glacier–permafrost interactions and glaciotectonic landform generation at the margin of the Leverett Glacier, West Greenland

By
Richard I. Waller
Richard I. Waller
School of Earth Sciences and Geography, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG, UK (e-mail: r.i.waller@esci.keele.ac.uk)
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George W. Tuckwell
George W. Tuckwell
STATS Ltd, Poterswood House, Porters Wood, St Albans AL3 6PQ, UK
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Published:
January 01, 2005

Abstract

This paper describes the key characteristics of a proglacial moraine complex at the Leverett Glacier, western Greenland. The presence of a large stream-cut exposure allowed the examination of its internal structure, as well as its surface geomorphology. It is composed of a variety of ice and sediment facies, including debris-poor ice, ice-rich diamicton and ice-rich gravel. These units are glaciotectonized, with the exposure featuring a major fault and associated drag fold, a planar, erosional unconformity, and a variety of small-scale folds. Various interpretations are considered, including the possibility that the sequence represents a buried basal ice layer. However, it is argued that the structural characteristics are best explained by a two-phase model involving ice advance and proglacial or ice-marginal compression, followed by overriding and subglacial deformation and erosion, tentatively related to ice advance after the Holocene Hypsithermal (c. 4900–3000 calendar years BP). The polygenetic origin of this ice-marginal, glaciotectonic landform contrasts with the majority of Arctic push-moraines, which are largely considered the result of proglacial deformation and the stacking of imbricate thrust sheets of frozen sediment. This contrast may reflect differences in the thickness and spatial continuity of permafrost within the glacier foreland, and adds to the range of ice-marginal landforms associated with glacier-permafrost interactions.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Cryospheric Systems: Glaciers and Permafrost

C. Harris
C. Harris
Cardiff University, UK
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J. B. Murton
J. B. Murton
University of Sussex, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
242
ISBN electronic:
9781862394902
Publication date:
January 01, 2005

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