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Fjords as temporary sediment traps; history of glacial erosion and deposition in Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park, Southeastern Alaska

Ellen A. Cowan, Keith C. Seramur, Ross D. Powell, Bryce A. Willems, Sean P. S. Gulick and John M. Jaeger
Fjords as temporary sediment traps; history of glacial erosion and deposition in Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park, Southeastern Alaska
Geological Society of America Bulletin (July 2010) 122 (7-8): 1067-1080

Abstract

Glacimarine sedimentary deposits within the basins of Muir Inlet, a 48-km-long silled fjord, are interpreted from complimentary sets of high-resolution, seismic-reflection profiles using known glacial-advance and retreat history. Two prominent glacial erosion surfaces are identified: the lowest attributed to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) advance and the upper coincident with the Little Ice Age (LIA) advance. The LGM ice sheet, which advanced onto the continental shelf, was 1700 m thick in Muir Inlet and eroded bedrock, whereas the thinner LIA ice did not. LGM deposits >300 m thick occur beneath the LIA erosion surface in the deepest basins. Evidence for earlier Neoglacial advances is present in subaerial deposits; however, Neoglacial sediments preserved within the marine record are restricted to one depositional package on the entrance sill. Volumes of LIA retreat sediments were calculated within basins. An average annual sediment flux was calculated by modeling the duration of sediment contributed from Muir Glacier and from tributary glaciers and side-entry sources. The annual sediment flux ranged from 1.3X10 (super 6) m (super 3) /yr to 4.6X10 (super 7) m (super 3) /yr and increases logarithmically with increasing drainage basin area, similar to fluvial systems. This sediment flux does not only represent bedrock erosion. Additional sediment is contributed from persistent tributary glaciers and from LGM sediment stored within deeper basins. Basin-wide reflections characterize the most common seismic facies and indicate that strata are horizontal and continuous across each basin, confirming the importance of sediment gravity flows originating from sills and sloping fjord walls.


ISSN: 0016-7606
EISSN: 1943-2674
Coden: BUGMAF
Serial Title: Geological Society of America Bulletin
Serial Volume: 122
Serial Issue: 7-8
Title: Fjords as temporary sediment traps; history of glacial erosion and deposition in Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park, Southeastern Alaska
Affiliation: Appalachian State University, Department of Geology, Boone, NC, United States
Pages: 1067-1080
Published: 201007
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 57
Accession Number: 2010-050186
Categories: Quaternary geologyApplied geophysics
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sects., 2 tables, sketch maps
N58°49'60" - N59°04'60", W136°24'00" - W136°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Northern Illinois University, USA, United StatesUniversity of Texas at Austin, USA, United StatesUniversity of Florida, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2019, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201027
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