Multiple mechanisms of minor moraine formation in the Schwarzensteinkees foreland, Austria
Published:October 23, 2020
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Cianna E. Wyshnytzky, Sven Lukas, John W.E. Groves, 2020. "Multiple mechanisms of minor moraine formation in the Schwarzensteinkees foreland, Austria", Untangling the Quaternary Period: A Legacy of Stephen C. Porter, Richard B. Waitt, Glenn D. Thackray, Alan R. Gillespie
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This paper presents a detailed sedimentologic data set of minor moraines (heights ≤2.0 m, widths ≤14 m, lengths ≤108 m) that formed beginning near the end of the Little Ice Age by Schwarzensteinkees, a valley glacier in Austria. Sorted sediment and stratified diamict dominate five exposures, and compact massive diamict exists in one exposure. This sediment is interpreted as proglacial outwash and subglacial till. Most moraine sediment shows deformation structures (e.g., smaller and larger folds), and some units contain evidence of water escape. Other units maintain their original subhorizontality. All moraines contain unequivocal evidence of having formed through deformation by pushing during ice-margin fluctuations. Minor moraines formed more specifically by three identified processes: (1) pushing of outwash sediment; (2) stacking and pushing of outwash sediment; and (3) pushing of outwash sediment and freezing-on of subglacial till. Our data suggest that the sedimentologic composition of the valley fill influences the style of push-moraine formation. In this case, the friable nature of outwash sediments can increase the efficiency of the pushing ice front and the likelihood of sediment collapse down the proximal ice-contact slope after ice retreat. This study contributes to our understanding of sediment transport and deposition in high-mountain environments.