Late erosion pulse triggered by rapid melt in the cold‐based interior of the last Fennoscandian Ice Sheet, an example from Rogen

Mikis Van Boeckel, Tayo Van Boeckel, Adrian M. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Ice sheet interiors are conventionally regarded as non-erosive. Yet subglacial conditions may be transformed during deglaciation by the arrival of large volumes of meltwater at the ice sheet bed. The development of a dynamic meltwater drainage system and the onset of basal sliding have potential to increase erosion rates in bedrock and sediment. Here, we examine the impact of late deglacial thawing on the Rogen plateau, located near the former ice divide of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet. We provide new maps of glacial and glacifluvial landforms which we combine with existing data on Quaternary sediments and landforms. Cross-cutting and overlapping relations allow for an event sequence to be established of the deglaciation period. In the Early Holocene (< 11 ka), an ice lobe onset zone developed at the Rogen plateau. In places where meltwater reached the bed and where pressures rose to overpressure, it caused fracture dilation in horizontally bedded sandstones and rock brecciation. The onset of sliding and application of drag resulted in the mobilization of bedrock sheets. The establishment of meltwater corridors led to fluidization of sediments at the bed, dissection and modification of ribbed moraines and formation of murtoos and hummock corridors. During final stagnation of the ice sheet, meltwater drained through channels forming axial eskers. Bedrock erosion during deglaciation reached depths up to 4 m, and in conjunction with some recycling of till, generated 317 km2 of boulder cover. The average erosion depths by removal and reworking of sediment are 0.9–1.1 m across areas below 900 m elevation. This study shows that when the cold-based interiors of ice sheets become briefly activated by large subglacial meltwater delivery late in deglaciation, there can be significant reworking and erosion of rock and sediment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3376-3394
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number14
Early online date16 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Fennoscandian Ice Sheet
  • basal thermal regime
  • deglaciation
  • glacial erosion
  • glacial ripping
  • hummock corridor
  • murtoos
  • ribbed moraine
  • subglacial hydrology


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