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Title: Quantification of the ice-cored moraines' short-term dynamics in the high-Arctic glaciers Ebbabreen and Ragnarbreen, Petuniabukta, Svalbard
Authors: Ewertowski, Marek
Tomczyk, Aleksandra
Keywords: Dead-ice melting
Ice-cored moraine
Debris flow
Issue Date: 1-Apr-2015
Publisher: ELSEVIER
Citation: Geomorphology, Volume 234, 2015, Pages 211-227,
Abstract: Extensive ice-cored moraine complexes are common elements, marking the last advance of many Svalbard glaciers. Sediment gravity flows are among the most dynamic processes, transforming these landforms. The short-term (yearly and weekly) dynamics of mass-wasting processes were studied in a cm-scale using repetitive topographic scanning. We monitored several active sites on the forelands of two glaciers, Ebbabreen and Ragnarbreen, both of which are located near Petuniabukta at the northern end of Billefjorden in Spitsbergen. The surveys indicate high dynamic rates of landforms' transformation. The mean annual volume loss of sediments and dead-ice for the most active parts of the moraines was up to 1.8 m a− 1. However, most of the transformation occurred during summer, with the short-term values of mean elevation changes as high as − 104 mm day− 1. In comparison, the dynamics of the other (i.e. non-active) parts of the ice-cored moraines were much lower, namely, the mean annual lowering (attributed mainly to dead-ice downwasting) was up to 0.3 m a −1, whereas lowering during summer was up to 8 mm day− 1. Our results indicate that in the case of the studied glaciers, backwasting was much more effective than downwasting in terms of landscape transformation in the glacier forelands. However, despite the high activity of localised mass movement processes, the overall short-term dynamics of ice-cored moraines for the studied glaciers were relatively low. We suggest that as long as debris cover is sufficiently thick (thicker than the permafrost's active layer depths), the mass movement activity would occur only under specific topographic conditions and/or due to occurrence of external meltwater sources and slope undercutting. In other areas, ice-cored moraines remain a stable landsystem component in a yearly to decadal time-scale.
Sponsorship: The project including research presented in this paper was funded by the National Science Centre as granted by decision number DEC-2011/01/D/ST10/06494
ISSN: ISSN 0169-555X
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