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Title: The sedimentary and geomorphic signature of subglacial processes in the Tarfala Valley, northern Sweden, and the links between subglacial soft-bed deformation, glacier flow dynamics, and landform generation
Author: Pomeroy, Joseph Anthony
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2013
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The aim of this study is to understand the extent, depth, magnitude and significance of subglacial sediment deformation. It will examine the role of this deformation in controlling glacier dynamics and landform generation in glaciers in general, and polythermal glaciers in particular. A detailed multi-dimensional approach is used to study recently exposed glacigenic sediments on the forefields of three polyglaciers in the Tarfala Valley, northern Sweden. Overridden fluted moraines and diamicton plains occur in each forefield. These palimpsest landforms consist of multiple subglacial traction tills. Flutes have quasi-regular geometry and about half of those studied have no initiating boulder. It is suggested here that flute formation by forced-mechanisms was superimposed on flute formation related to a topographically-induced flow instability. In each forefield the depth of the deforming-bed averaged between 0.2m and 0.6m thickness. Detailed clast fabric data suggest the diamicton plain is composed of thin layers of traction tills that accreted over time as the zone of deformation moved upwards. Laboratory shear box tests show that subglacial deformation required elevated pore-water pressures, which suggests deforming-bed conditions and flute formation were restricted to the temperate zones of polythermal glaciers. Magnetic fabrics suggest strain magnitudes were moderate (≤10), rather than the very high strain magnitudes (>10²) required by the deforming-bed model. The application of the micro-structural mapping technique demonstrates that subglacial deformation was multi-phase, heterogeneous, and partitioned into the softer and more easily deformed parts of the matrix. Consequently, deformation is controlled by variations in sediment granulometry and pore-water pressure, and is likely to have been spatially and temporally variable, a finding that supports the ice-bed mosaic model. The strain magnitudes and deforming-bed thickness suggest that soft-bed deformation did not exert a major control on glacier dynamics during the Little Ice Age advance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: NERC ; Loughborough University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Soft-bed deformation ; Strain magnitude ; Microstructural mapping ; Glacier dynamics ; Ice-bed mosaic ; Subglacial till ; Storglaciaren ; Flutes