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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-268
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-268
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 28 Nov 2019

Submitted as: research article | 28 Nov 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Repeated ice streaming on the northwest Greenland shelf since the onset of the Middle Pleistocene Transition

Andrew M. W. Newton1,2, Mads Huuse1, Paul C. Knutz3, David R. Cox1, and Simon H. Brocklehurst1 Andrew M. W. Newton et al.
  • 1School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, UK, M13 9PL
  • 2School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast, University Road, UK, BT7 1NN
  • 3Department of Geophysics, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Øster Voldgade 10, 1350, Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract. Ice streams provide a fundamental control on ice sheet discharge and depositional patterns along glaciated margins. This paper investigates ancient ice streams by presenting the first 3D seismic geomorphological analysis of a major glacigenic succession offshore Greenland. In Melville Bugt, northwest Greenland, five sets of buried landforms have been interpreted as mega-scale glacial lineations (MSGL) and this record provides evidence for extensive ice streams on outer palaeo-shelves. A gradual change in mean MSGL orientation and associated depocentres suggests that the palaeo-ice flow and sediment transport pathways migrated in response to the evolving submarine topography. The stratigraphy and available chronology shows that the MSGL are confined to separate stratigraphic units and were most likely formed during several glacial stages since the onset of the Middle Pleistocene Transition at ~ 1.3 Ma. The ice streams in Melville Bugt were as extensive as elsewhere in Greenland during this transition, but, by the glacial stages of the Middle and Late Pleistocene, the ice streams in Melville Bugt appear to have repeatedly reached the palaeo-shelf edge. This suggests that the ice streams that occupied Melville Bugt during the Middle and Late Pleistocene were more active and extensive than elsewhere in Greenland. High-resolution buried 3D landform records such as these have not been previously observed anywhere on the Greenland shelf margin and provide a crucial benchmark for testing how accurately numerical models are able to recreate past configurations of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Andrew M. W. Newton et al.
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Short summary
This paper use 3D seismic reflection data offshore northwest Greenland to image five sets of buried landforms that have been interpreted as mega-scale glacial lineations (MSGL). These have been formed by ancient ice streams that advanced 100s km across the shelf. The stratigraphy and available chronology shows that the MSGL are confined to separate stratigraphic units and were most likely formed during several glacial stages since the onset of the Middle Pleistocene Transition at ~ 1.3 M.
This paper use 3D seismic reflection data offshore northwest Greenland to image five sets of...
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