Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Meltwater controls on ice-marginal sedimentation
Author: Spedding, Nick
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1999
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
This thesis explores the influence that meltwater exerts on styles of ice-marginal sedimentation, using past and present examples from Iceland. The study glaciers display marked contrasts in form, size and composition of moraines which are unlikely to reflect differences in rates of subglacial erosion. This is because the study glaciers occupy a similar climate, show similar relief, sit above similar bedrock, and are inferred to flow at similar speeds. The observed variation in moraine properties must reflect some other process which intervenes to modify sediment transport relationships prior to the arrival of debris at the ice edge. I argue that this key factor which controls sediment transport - and, as a result, the potential to form moraines - is the behaviour of subglacial meltwater flows. Studies of the sediment load of its outlet river show that Sólheimajökull is a highly erosive glacier, yet the quantity of debris carried by the ice is extremely small. Consequently, present-day moraine formation is extremely limited. This can best be explained as the product of an aggressive subglacial drainage network which captures and evacuates the bulk of debris generated by subglacial erosion. This state of high efficiency subglacial flushing is likely to dominate the sediment budget of many temperate glaciers. Whereas the present-day margin of Sólheimajökull is debris-poor, the present-day margins of Gígjökull and Steinholtsjökull are debris-rich. This debris consists of two major populations: 1) rounded closets set in a sorted coarse sand and gravel matrix, derived from a series of englacial debris bands, and 2) sub-angular clasts in a poorly-sorted matrix, derived from unusually thick sequences of basal ice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available