Skip to main content

Stable isotope (δD–δ18O) relationships of ice facies and glaciological structures within the mid-latitude maritime Fox Glacier, New Zealand

  • John R. Appleby (a1), Martin S. Brook (a2), Travis W. Horton (a3), Ian C. Fuller (a1), Katherine A. Holt (a1) and Duncan J. Quincey (a4)...

Relationships between stable isotopes (δD–δ18O), ice facies and glacier structures have hitherto gone untested in the mid-latitude maritime glaciers of the Southern Hemisphere. Here, we present δD–δ18O values as part of a broader study of the structural glaciology of Fox Glacier, New Zealand. We analyzed 94 samples of δD–δ18O from a range of ice facies to investigate whether isotopes have potential for structural glaciological studies of a rapidly deforming glacier. The δD–δ18O measurements were aided by structural mapping and imagery from terminus time-lapse cameras. The current retreat phase was preceded by an advance of 1 km between 1984 and 2009, with the isotopic sampling and analysis undertaken at the end of that advance (2010/11). Stable isotopes from debris-bearing shear planes near the terminus, interpreted as thrust faults, are isotopically enriched compared with the surrounding ice. When plotted on co-isotopic diagrams (δD–δ18O), ice sampled from the shear planes appears to show a subtle, but distinctive isotopic signal compared with the surrounding clean ice on the lower glacier. Hence, stable isotopes (δD–δ18O) have potential within the structural glaciology field, but larger sample numbers than reported here may be required to establish isotopic contrasts between a broad range of ice facies and glacier structures.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Stable isotope (δD–δ18O) relationships of ice facies and glaciological structures within the mid-latitude maritime Fox Glacier, New Zealand
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Stable isotope (δD–δ18O) relationships of ice facies and glaciological structures within the mid-latitude maritime Fox Glacier, New Zealand
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Stable isotope (δD–δ18O) relationships of ice facies and glaciological structures within the mid-latitude maritime Fox Glacier, New Zealand
      Available formats
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Hide All
Alexander, DJ, Shulmeister, J and Davies, T (2011) High basal melting rates within high-precipitation temperate glaciers. J. Glaciol., 57, 789795
Alley, RB and 5 others (1997) How glaciers entrain and transport basal sediment; physical constraints. Quat. Sci. Rev., 16, 10171038
Amesbury, MJ and 10 others (2015) Can oxygen stable isotopes be used to track precipitation moisture source in vascular plant-dominated peatlands? Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 430, 149159
Appleby, JR, Brook, MS, Vale, SS and MacDonald-Creevey, AM (2010) Structural glaciology of a temperate maritime glacier: lower Fox Glacier, New Zealand. Geogr. Ann., 92(A), 451467
Barbour, MM (2007) Stable oxygen isotope composition of plant tissue: a review. Funct. Plant Biol., 34, 8394
Benn, DI and Evans, DJA (2010). Glaciers and glaciation. Hodder Arnold, London, 734 p
Brook, M and Paine, S (2012) Ablation of ice-cored moraine in a humid, maritime climate: Fox Glacier, New Zealand. Geogr. Ann., 94A, 339349
Coates, G and Chinn, TJ (1999) The Franz Josef and fox glaciers. Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd, Wellington
Cook, SJ and 5 others (2010) Role of glaciohydraulic supercooling in the formation of stratified facies basal ice: Svínafellsjökull and Skaftafellsjökull, southeast Iceland. Boreas, 39(1), 2438
Epstein, S and Sharp, RP (1959) Oxygen isotope variations in the Malaspina and Saskatchewan Glaciers. J. Geol., 67, 88102
Fierz, C and 8 others (2009) The international classification for seasonal Firn on the ground. IHP-VII Technical Documents in Hydrology No.83, IACS Contribution No.1, UNESCO-IHP, Paris
Glasser, NF and Hambrey, MJ (2001) Styles of sedimentation beneath Svalbard valley glaciers under changing dynamic and thermal regimes. J. Geol. Soc. Lond., 158, 697708
Glasser, NF and Hambrey, MJ (2002) δD–δ18O relationships on a polythermal valley glacier: Midtre Lovénbreen, Svalbard. Polar Res., 21, 123131
Glasser, NF, Hambrey, MJ, Crawford, KR, Bennett, MR and Huddart, D (1998) The structural glaciology of Kongsvegen, Svalbard and its role in landform genesis. J. Glaciol., 44, 136148
Glasser, NF, Bennett, MR and Huddart, D (1999) Distribution of glaciofluvial sediment within and on the surface of a high Arctic valley glacier: Marthabreen, Svalbard. Earth Surf. Process. Landf., 24(4), 303318
Glasser, NF, Hambrey, MJ, Etienne, JL, Jansson, P, and Pettersson, R (2003) The origin and significance of debris-charged ridges at the surface of Storglaciären, northern Sweden. Geogr. Ann., 85A, 127147
Gonfiantini, R (1978) Standard for stable isotope measurements in natural compounds. Nature, 271, 534536
Goodsell, B, Hambrey, MJ and Glasser, NF (2005) Debris transport in a temperate valley glacier: Haut Glacier d‘Arolla, Valais, Switzerland. J. Glaciol., 51, 139146
Hambrey, MJ (1974) Oxygen isotope studies at Charles Rabots Bre, Okstindan, northern Norway. Geogr. Ann., 56A, 147159
Hambrey, MJ and Lawson, W (2000) Structural styles and deformation fields in glaciers: a review. In Maltman AJ, Hubbard B and Hambrey MJ eds. Deformation of glacial materials, Geol. Soc. Spec. Publ., 176, 5683
Hambrey, MJ (1975) The origin of foliation in glaciers: evidence from some Norwegian examples. J. Glaciol., 14(70), 181185
Hambrey, MJ, Bennett, MR, Dowdeswell, JA, Glasser, NF and Huddart, D (1999) Debris entrainment and transfer in polythermal valley glaciers. J. Glaciol., 45, 6986
Hambrey, MJ and 7 others (2005) Structure and changing dynamics of a polythermal valley glacier on a centennial timescale: Midre Lovenbreen, Svalbard. J. Geophys. Res., 110, F01006 (doi: 10.1029/2004JR000128)
Herbst, P, Neubauer, F and Schopfer, MPJ (2006) The development of brittle structures in an alpine valley glacier: Pasterzenkees, Austria, 1887–1997. J. Glaciol., 52(176), 128136
Herman, F, Anderson, B and LePrince, S (2011) Mountain glacier velocity variation during an advance/retreat cycle quantified using sub-pixel analysis of ASTER images. J. Glaciol., 57(202), 197207
Hooke, RL and Hudleston, PJ (1978) Origin of foliation in glaciers. J. Glaciol., 20, 285299
Hubbard, B and Sharp, M (1993) Weertman regelation, multiple refreezing events and the isotopic evolution of the basal ice layer. J. Glaciol., 39(132), 275291
Hubbard, B, Tison, J-L, Janssens, L, and Spiro, B (2000) Ice-core evidence of the thickness and character of clear-facies basal ice: Glacier de Tsanfleuron, Switzerland. J. Glaciol., 46(152), 140150
Hubbard, B, Cook, S and Coulson, H (2009) Basal ice facies: a review and unifying approach. Quat. Sci. Rev., 28, 19561969
Hudleston, PJ (2015). Structures and fabrics in glacial ice: a review. J. Struct. Geol., 81, 127
IAEA (1992) Statistical treatment of data on environmental isotopes in precipitation. Technical Reports Series No. 331, IAEA, Vienna, p. 781
Iverson, NR and Souchez, R (1996) Isotopic signature of debris-rich ice formed by regelation into a subglacial sediment bed. Geophys. Res. Lett., 23(10), 11511154
Jennings, SJA, Hambrey, MJ and Glasser, NF (2014) Ice flow-unit influence on glacier structure, debris entrainment and transport. Earth Surf. Process. Landf., 39, 12791292
Larsen, NK, Kronborg, C, Yde, JV and Knudsen, NT (2010) Debris entrainment by basal freeze-on and thrusting during the 1995–1998 surge of Kuannersuit Glacier on Disko Island, west Greenland. Earth Surf. Process. Landf., 35(5), 561574
Lawson, DE (1979) Sedimentological analysis of the western terminus region of the Matanuska Glacier, Alaska. CRREL Rep., 79–97
Lawson, DE and Kulla, JB (1978) An oxygen isotope investigation of the origin of the basal zone of the Matanuska Glacier, Alaska. J. Geol., 86, 673685
Lawson, DE and 5 others (1998) Glaciohydraulic supercooling: a freeze-on mechanism to create stratified, debris-rich basal ice: I. Field evidence. J. Glaciol., 44, 547562
Lehmann, M and Siegenthaler, U (1991) Equilibrium oxygen and hydrogen-isotope fractionation between ice and water. J. Glaciol., 37, 2326
Lemmens, M, Lorrain, R and Haren, J (1982) Isotopic composition of ice and subglacially precipitated calcite in an alpine area. Z. Gletscherkd. Glazialgeol., 18, 151159
Lovell, H and 5 others (2015a) Former dynamic behaviour of a cold-based valley glacier on Svalbard revealed by basal ice and structural glaciology investigations. J. Glaciol., 61(226), 309328
Lovell, H and 8 others (2015b) Debris entrainment and landform genesis during tidewater glacier surges. J. Geophys Res.: Earth Surf., 120, 15741595
Moore, PL, Iverson, NR and Cohen, D (2010) Conditions for thrust faulting in a glacier. J. Geophys. Res.: Earth Surf., 115(F02005)
Moore, PL and 5 others (2011) Effect of a cold margin on ice flow at the terminus of Storglaciaren, Sweden: implications for sediment transport. J. Glac., 57(201), 7787
Moore, PL and 5 others (2013) Entrainment and emplacement of englacial debris bands near the margin of Storglaciaren, Sweden. Boreas, 42, 7183
Phillips, E, Finlayson, A and Jones, L (2013) Fracturing, block faulting, and moulin development associated with progressive collapse and retreat of a maritime glacier: Falljökull, SE Iceland. J. Geophys Res.: Earth Surf., 118, 15451561
Purdie, HL, Brook, MS and Fuller, IC (2008) Seasonal variation in ablation and surface velocity on a temperate maritime Glacier: Fox Glacier, New Zealand. Arct. Antarct. Alp. Res., 40(1), 140147
Purdie, H, Bertler, N, Mackintosh, A, Baker, J and Rhodes, R (2010) Isotopic and elemental changes in winter snow accumulation on glaciers in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. J. Clim., 23(18), 47374749
Purdie, H and 5 others (2014) Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, New Zealand: historic length records. Glob. Plan. Chan., 121, 4152
Rea, BR and Evans, DJ (2011) An assessment of surge-induced crevassing and the formation of crevasse squeeze ridges. J. Geophys Res.: Earth Surf., 116(F04005)
Roberson, S (2008) Structural composition and sediment transfer in a composite cirque glacier: Glacier de St. Sorlin, France. Earth Surf. Proc. Landf., 33(13), 19311947
Sharp, M, Jouzel, J, Hubbard, B and Lawson, W (1994) The character, structure and origin of the basal ice layer of a surge-type glacier. J. Glaciol., 40(135), 327340
Sharp, RP, Epstein, S and Vidziunas, I (1960) Oxygen isotope ratios in Blue Glacier, Olympic Mountains, Washington. J. Geophys. Res., 65, 40434059
Souchez, RA and de Groote, JM (1985) δD–δ18O relationships in ice formed by subglacial freezing: palaeoclimatic implications. J. Glaciol., 31, 229232
Souchez, RA and Jouzel, J (1984) On the isotopic composition in δD and δ18O of water and ice during freezing. J. Glaciol., 30(106), 369372
Stichler, W, Baker, D, Oerter, H and Trimborn, P (1982) Core drilling on Vernagtferner (Oetztal Alps, Austria) in 1979: deuterium and oxygen-18 contents. Z. Gletscherkd. Glazialgeol., 18, 2335
Swift, DA, Evans, DJA and Fallick, AE (2006) Transverse englacial debris-rich ice bands at Kviarjokull, southeast Iceland. Quat. Sci. Rev., 25(13–14), 17081718
Wardle, P (1973) Variations of the glaciers of Westland National Park and the Hooker Range, New Zealand. NZ J. Botany, 11, 349388
Weertman, J (1961) Stability of ice-age ice sheets. J. Geophys. Res., 66, 37833792
Winter, K and 10 others (2016) Assessing the continuity of the blue ice climate record at Patriot Hills, Horseshoe Valley, West Antarctica. Geophys. Res. Lett., 43(5), 20192026
Woodward, J, Murray, T and McCaig, A (2002) Formation and reorientation of structure in the surge-type glacier Kongsvegen, Svalbard. J. Quat. Sci., 17, 201209
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
  • URL: /core/journals/annals-of-glaciology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 39
Total number of PDF views: 102 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 219 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 4th July 2017 - 19th August 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.