Morphological evidence for marine ice stream shutdown, central Barents Sea

Bartosz Kurjanski (Corresponding Author), Brice R. Rea, Matteo Spagnolo, Monica Winsborrow, David G. Cornwell, Karin Andreassen, John Howell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Marine-based ice streams are responsible for a significant proportion of the ice mass loss from the present-day Greenland Ice Sheet, East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) and West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) but the processes controlling their initiation, evolution and shutdown remain elusive, hindering our understanding of how existing ice masses will respond to predicted future warming. The exposed beds of palaeo-ice streams offer a unique opportunity to study subglacial processes, which are largely inaccessible in contemporary settings. We use high resolution multibeam swath bathymetry data from the Barents Sea to map the geomorphology of a palaeo-ice stream bed, located in Olgastretet (Olga Trough), approximately 75 km southeast of Kong Karls Land and 200 km east of central Svalbard). This reveals evidence for shut down of a marine-based ice stream, followed by a phase of passive retreat or lift-off of the ice stream facilitating preservation of crevasse-squeeze ridges (CSRs). Subsequently, active retreat of the ice margin was re-established and is marked by recessional moraine ridges located upstream of the CSRs. Previously, CSRs have been mainly associated with surging land-terminating ice margins, however our work adds to recent observations of CSRs on the beds of marine-based ice streams, implying that they may be more common than previously thought. It also indicates that marine-based ice streams may switch on- and off in a surge-like manner which has important implications for our understanding of ice stream life cycles and the modelling of ice sheets.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Geology
Early online date2 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 May 2019

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ice stream
Ice
crevasse
ice sheet
ice margin
swath bathymetry
ice
stream bed
sea
moraine
geomorphology
trough
life cycle
warming
Geomorphology
Bathymetry

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Morphological evidence for marine ice stream shutdown, central Barents Sea. / Kurjanski, Bartosz (Corresponding Author); Rea, Brice R.; Spagnolo, Matteo; Winsborrow, Monica; Cornwell, David G.; Andreassen, Karin ; Howell, John.

In: Marine Geology, 02.05.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Marine-based ice streams are responsible for a significant proportion of the ice mass loss from the present-day Greenland Ice Sheet, East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) and West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) but the processes controlling their initiation, evolution and shutdown remain elusive, hindering our understanding of how existing ice masses will respond to predicted future warming. The exposed beds of palaeo-ice streams offer a unique opportunity to study subglacial processes, which are largely inaccessible in contemporary settings. We use high resolution multibeam swath bathymetry data from the Barents Sea to map the geomorphology of a palaeo-ice stream bed, located in Olgastretet (Olga Trough), approximately 75 km southeast of Kong Karls Land and 200 km east of central Svalbard). This reveals evidence for shut down of a marine-based ice stream, followed by a phase of passive retreat or lift-off of the ice stream facilitating preservation of crevasse-squeeze ridges (CSRs). Subsequently, active retreat of the ice margin was re-established and is marked by recessional moraine ridges located upstream of the CSRs. Previously, CSRs have been mainly associated with surging land-terminating ice margins, however our work adds to recent observations of CSRs on the beds of marine-based ice streams, implying that they may be more common than previously thought. It also indicates that marine-based ice streams may switch on- and off in a surge-like manner which has important implications for our understanding of ice stream life cycles and the modelling of ice sheets.",
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AU - Howell, John

N1 - The authors would like to thank NERC Oil and Gas CDT for the funding and support. We would also like to thank MAREANO (www.mareano.no) and EMODnet Bathymetry Consortium 2016 (http://www.emodnet-bathymetry.eu) for providing bathymetric data. We would like to thank Sarah Greenwood and two anonymous reviewers whose comments helped us to improve the manuscript.

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N2 - Marine-based ice streams are responsible for a significant proportion of the ice mass loss from the present-day Greenland Ice Sheet, East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) and West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) but the processes controlling their initiation, evolution and shutdown remain elusive, hindering our understanding of how existing ice masses will respond to predicted future warming. The exposed beds of palaeo-ice streams offer a unique opportunity to study subglacial processes, which are largely inaccessible in contemporary settings. We use high resolution multibeam swath bathymetry data from the Barents Sea to map the geomorphology of a palaeo-ice stream bed, located in Olgastretet (Olga Trough), approximately 75 km southeast of Kong Karls Land and 200 km east of central Svalbard). This reveals evidence for shut down of a marine-based ice stream, followed by a phase of passive retreat or lift-off of the ice stream facilitating preservation of crevasse-squeeze ridges (CSRs). Subsequently, active retreat of the ice margin was re-established and is marked by recessional moraine ridges located upstream of the CSRs. Previously, CSRs have been mainly associated with surging land-terminating ice margins, however our work adds to recent observations of CSRs on the beds of marine-based ice streams, implying that they may be more common than previously thought. It also indicates that marine-based ice streams may switch on- and off in a surge-like manner which has important implications for our understanding of ice stream life cycles and the modelling of ice sheets.

AB - Marine-based ice streams are responsible for a significant proportion of the ice mass loss from the present-day Greenland Ice Sheet, East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) and West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) but the processes controlling their initiation, evolution and shutdown remain elusive, hindering our understanding of how existing ice masses will respond to predicted future warming. The exposed beds of palaeo-ice streams offer a unique opportunity to study subglacial processes, which are largely inaccessible in contemporary settings. We use high resolution multibeam swath bathymetry data from the Barents Sea to map the geomorphology of a palaeo-ice stream bed, located in Olgastretet (Olga Trough), approximately 75 km southeast of Kong Karls Land and 200 km east of central Svalbard). This reveals evidence for shut down of a marine-based ice stream, followed by a phase of passive retreat or lift-off of the ice stream facilitating preservation of crevasse-squeeze ridges (CSRs). Subsequently, active retreat of the ice margin was re-established and is marked by recessional moraine ridges located upstream of the CSRs. Previously, CSRs have been mainly associated with surging land-terminating ice margins, however our work adds to recent observations of CSRs on the beds of marine-based ice streams, implying that they may be more common than previously thought. It also indicates that marine-based ice streams may switch on- and off in a surge-like manner which has important implications for our understanding of ice stream life cycles and the modelling of ice sheets.

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