Abstract

Sediment delivery rates through an entire ice age are investigated using seismic records of glacial erosion products from the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet deposited offshore of mid-Norway in the 2.7 m.y. old Naust Formation (volume 100,000 km3). The mean sedimentation rate over the ice age is ∼0.24 m k.y.−1, with bedrock lowering of ∼520 m in the ice-sheet catchment. The mean sediment delivery is 2–3 times higher for the most recent 600 k.y. than for earlier Naust sequences. The hypothesis that glacial erosion is most rapid early in an ice age, when there was presumably much weathered bedrock and preglacial sediment available, is not accepted for our study area. More important are changing ice-sheet dimensions and dynamics, varying intensity of individual glacial cycles, and complex ice-sheet dynamics in single deglaciations. The mean rate of sediment delivery from ice sheets is an order of magnitude higher than from fluvial activity in the huge Amazon and Mississippi systems, implying that ice is a very effective agent of long-term denudation during cold periods of Earth history.

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