Sedimentary processes and palaeoenvironment in Van Keulenfjorden, Spitsbergen
Swath bathymetry, high resolution seismic and core data are analysed to describe the Late Weichselian and Holocene sedimentary processes and palaeoenvironment in Van Keulenfjorden, Spitsbergen. Bottom currents, the bathymetry of the fjord and the distance from sediment sources are the controlling factors for the sediment distribution as indicated by isopach maps. Sandur deltas at the mouth of tributary valleys cause repeated mass-transport along the slopes. Rapid postglacial isostatic uplift reactivated faults of the West Spitsbergen fold and thrust belt, which acted as pathways for thermogenic gas creating pockmarks. The results from this study confirm previous indications that an ice stream drained the Late Weichselian Barents Sea Ice Sheet through Van Keulenfjorden. The deglaciation of the fjord began ~11.2 cal. ka BP with a retreat rate of ~160 m a-1. A hiatus between 10.7 cal. ka BP and 7.0 cal. ka BP in the outer part of the fjord was most likely caused by bottom currents. Following a warm period between 10.7 cal. ka BP and min. 7.0 cal. ka BP increasing IRD content indicates slow but steady cooling. Glacial activity in the Holocene peaked at 2.8 cal. ka BP, resulting in the deposition of morainal banks. Adjacent to these morainal banks two debris flow lobes were deposited. They are interpreted to be the product of two consecutive surges. This contradicts the conclusions of previous investigations, where the upper lobe is interpreted to be from the Little Ice Age. Since 2.8 cal. ka BP the glacial activity was relatively constant. The terminal position of the Nathorstbreen from 2.8 cal. ka BP was reached in the late 19th century. While the work of this study was conducted Nathorstbreen surged and almost reached the front position from 2.8 cal. ka BP again.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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