Submarine landforms and ice-sheet flow in the Kvitøya Trough, northwestern Barents Sea

TitleSubmarine landforms and ice-sheet flow in the Kvitøya Trough, northwestern Barents Sea
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsHogan, KA, Dowdeswell, JA, Noormets, R, Evans, J, Cofaigh, CÓ, Jakobsson, M
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
ISBN Number0277-3791

High-resolution geophysical and sediment core data are used to investigate the pattern and dynamics of former ice flow in Kvitøya Trough, northwestern Barents Sea. A new swath-bathymetric dataset identifies three types of submarine landform in the study area (streamlined landforms, meltwater channels and cavities, iceberg scours). Subglacially produced streamlined landforms provide a record of ice flow through Kvitøya Trough during the last glaciation. Flow directions are inferred from the orientations of streamlined landforms (drumlins, crag-and-tail features). Ice flowed northward for at least 135 km from an ice divide at the southern end of Kvitøya Trough. A large channel-cavity system incised into bedrock in the southern trough indicates that subglacial meltwater was present at the former ice-sheet base. Modest landform elongation ratios and a lack of mega-scale glacial lineations suggest that, although ice in Kvitøya Trough was melting at the bed and flowed faster than the likely thin and cold-based ice on adjacent banks, a major ice stream probably did not occupy the trough. Retreat was relatively rapid after 14–13.5 14C kyr B.P. and probably progressed via ice sheet-bed decoupling in response to rising sea level. There is little evidence for still stands during ice retreat or of ice-proximal deglacial sediments. Relict iceberg scours in present-day water depths of more than 350 m in the northern trough indicate that calving was an important mass loss mechanism during retreat.