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Distribution of glacial geomorphic features on the Antarctic continental shelf and correlation with substrate: implications for ice behavior

  • J. S. Wellner (a1), A. L. Lowe (a1), S. S. Shipp (a1) and J. B. Anderson (a1)

Abstract

Surveys were conducted seaward of all the major drainage outlets of the Antarctic ice sheet from the Pennell Coast, north Victoria Land, to Marguerite Bay, Antarctic Peninsula. The results show that the ice sheet extended onto the outer shelf. Glacial troughs occur offshore of all major glacial outlets. Where the substrate is crystalline bedrock, ice flow tended to follow the structural grain of the bedrock, deposited little sediment and eroded the underlying bedrock. Where ice flowed over relatively soft, more easily eroded, sedimentary strata, the direction of ice flow was more directly offshore, and depositional features characterize the sea-floor. In these areas the signature of the grounded ice consists of till deposits and large-scale geomorphic features. Drumlins occur within the region of contact between crystalline and sedimentary substrates. The different geological substrates are interpreted to have exerted a fundamental control on the behavior of past ice sheets. The troughs in the areas of bedrock composed of sedimentary substrate are interpreted to have been occupied by relatively fast-flowing ice, ice streams, and the troughs in the areas of crystalline substrate are interpreted to have been occupied by slower-moving ice. The area between these two zones was characterized by ice acceleration and is marked by drumlins.

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References

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