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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 01 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 01 Aug 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript was accepted for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Glacial sedimentation, fluxes and erosion rates associated with ice retreat in Petermann Fjord and Nares Strait, NW Greenland

Kelly A. Hogan1,2, Martin Jakobsson3,4, Larry Mayer2, Brendan Reilly5, Anne Jennings6, Alan Mix5, Tove Nielsen7, Katrine J. Andresen8, Egon Nørmark8, Katrien A. Heirmann7,9, Elina Kamla7,10, Kevin Jerram2, and Christian Stranne3,4 Kelly A. Hogan et al.
  • 1British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0ET, UK
  • 2Center for Coastaland Ocean Mapping, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA
  • 3Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 4Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 5College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
  • 6Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0450, USA
  • 7Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Øster Voldgade 10, 1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark
  • 8Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University, Hoegh-Guldbergs Gade 2, DK-8000, Aarhus C, Denmark
  • 9TNO, Geological Survey of the Netherlands, Princetonlaan 6, NL-3584 CB Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 10Rambøll Management Consulting, Hannemanns Allé 53, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark

Abstract. Petermann Fjord is a deep (> 1000 m) fjord that incises the coastline of northwest Greenland and was carved by an expanded Petermann Glacier, one of the six largest outlet glaciers draining the modern Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). Between 5–70 m of unconsolidated glacigenic material infills in the fjord and adjacent Nares Strait, deposited as the Petermann and Nares Strait ice streams retreated through the area after the Last Glacial Maximum. We have investigated the deglacial deposits using seismic stratigraphic techniques and have correlated our results with high-resolution bathymetric data and core lithofacies. We identify six seismo-acoustic facies in more than 3500 line-km of sub-bottom and seismic-reflection profiles throughout the fjord, Hall Basin and Kennedy Channel. Seismo-acoustic facies relate to: bedrock or till surfaces (Facies I); subglacial deposition (Facies II); deposition from meltwater plumes and icebergs in quiescent glaciomarine conditions (Facies III, IV); deposition at grounded ice margins during stillstands in retreat (grounding-zone wedges; Facies V); and the redeposition of material down slopes (Facies IV). These sediment units represent the total volume of glacial sediment delivered to the mapped marine environment during retreat. We calculate a glacial sediment flux for the former Petermann Ice Stream as 1080–1420 m3 a−1 per meter of ice stream width and an average deglacial erosion rate for the basin of 0.29–0.34 mm a−1. Our deglacial erosion rates are consistent with results from Antarctic Peninsula fjord systems but are several times lower than values for other modern GrIS catchments. This difference is attributed to fact that large volumes of surface water do not access the bed in the Petermann system and we conclude that glacial erosion is limited to areas overridden by streaming ice in this large outlet glacier setting. Erosion rates are also presented for two phases of ice retreat and confirm that there is significant variation in these rates over a glacial-deglacial transition. Our new fluxes and erosion rates show that the Petermann Ice Stream was approximately as efficient as the palaeo-Jakobshavn Isbrae at eroding, transporting and delivering sediment to its margin during early deglaciation.

Kelly A. Hogan et al.
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Kelly A. Hogan et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Glacial sediments in fjords hold a key record of environmental and ice dynamic changes during ice retreat. Here, we use a comprehensive geophysical survey from the Peterman Fjord system in NW Greenland to map these sediments, identify depositional processes, and calculate glacial erosion rates for the retreating palaeo-Petermann Ice Stream. Ice streaming is the dominant control on glacial erosion rates which vary by an order of magnitude during deglaciation and are in line with modern rates.
Glacial sediments in fjords hold a key record of environmental and ice dynamic changes during...