|On the architecture of high-latitude continental margins: the influence of ice-sheet and sea-ice processes in the Polar North Atlantic
|Year of Publication
|Dowdeswell, JA, Cofaigh, CÓ, Taylor, J, Kenyon, NH, Mienert, J, Wilken, M
|Dowdeswell, JA, Cofaigh, CÓ
|Glacier-influenced sedimentation on high-latitude continental margins, Geological Society, London, Special Publications
The presence of ice during the Late Cenozoic distinguishes the nature and rates of processes on high-latitude margins from those elsewhere. Ice sheets terminating in marine waters deliver icebergs, meltwater and debris to high-latitude seas. Sea ice influences ocean salinity structure and downslope water and sediment transfer, and also transports fine-grained sediments over long distances. These cryospheric processes have led to the development of a distinctive sedimentary architecture on modern high-latitude continental margins. Large submarine fans made up almost entirely of stacked debris flows are present around the Norwegian-Greenland Sea. Large slides are located in a variety of settings relative to rates of sediment delivery from Quaternary ice-sheet margins, but no large slides have been mapped on the East Greenland margin. However, extensive channel systems and sediment-wave fields are present in the Greenland Basin, probably related to intermittent downslope flow of dense water and turbidity currents. The extensive NE Greenland shelf was not innundated by ice-sheet advance during recent full-glacial conditions, allowing sea-ice and deep-water production during both interglacials and full-glacials. Changes in the nature and rate of sedimentation within the Greenland Basin should provide clues on the rate of dense-water production, with implications for thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic. Other erosional and depositional features on the Norwegian-Greenland Sea margins include canyons and contourite drifts. High-relief tectonic features influence sediment reworking by turbidity currents at abyssal depths. A simple conceptual model for glacier-influenced marine sedimentation summarizes the role of cryospheric processes in high-latitude margin sedimentary environments.