Aligned glaciotectonic rafts on the central Barents Sea seafloor revealing extensive glacitectonic erosion during the last deglaciation

Denise Christina Ruether*, Karin Andreassen, Matteo Spagnolo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Erosion rates on glaciated continental shelves are remarkably high, especially within ice stream troughs. Although glaciotectonic erosion may have considerably contributed to enhanced glacial erosion of these landscapes, entrainment mechanisms of glaciotectonically emplaced megablocks and rafts remain little understood. Here we report a northeast-southwest trending chain of over 1300 glacial rafts, observed on the seafloor in BjOrnOyrenna, a paleo-ice stream trough with particularly high erosion rates. The landform assemblage adjacent to the glacial rafts includes streamlined bedforms and crevasse-squeeze ridges and may represent a lateral shear zone where a paleo-ice stream met cold stagnant ice during the last deglaciation. Individual glacial rafts along the chain are up to 30 m high, tend to be elongated with lengths and widths on the order of tens of meters, and are oriented from northeast-southwest to north-south. The north-southern rearrangement of rafts may reflect a compressional strain regime along the ice stream margin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6351-6355
Number of pages5
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number24
Early online date17 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2013


  • erosion on glaciated margins
  • glaciotectonics
  • megablocks and rafts
  • Barents Sea Ice Sheet
  • 3-dimensional seismic data
  • cenozoic erosion
  • ice stream
  • glaciers
  • landforms
  • Svalbard
  • Ireland
  • ridges

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