Ice flow-unit influence on glacier structure, debris entrainment and transport

Stephen J. A. Jennings*, Michael J. Hambrey, Neil F. Glasser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (SciVal)
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Abstract

The links between structural glaciology, glacial debris entrainment and transport have been established in a number of different glacier settings. Here we document the structural evolution of a temperate Alpine valley glacier (Vadrec del Forno, Switzerland) and demonstrate that individual flow units within the glacier have very different structural and debris characteristics. The glacier consists of a broad accumulation area with multiple basins feeding a relatively narrowtongue and is formed from six distinct flowunits. Each flow unit has its own characteristic structural assemblage. Flow units that narrow rapidly down-glacier are dominated by primary stratification that has evolved into longitudinal foliation. In contrast, wider flow units preferentially develop an axial planar foliation. Glacier structure plays a limited role in the entrainment of debris, which ismore strongly influenced by ice-marginal rockfall and avalanche inputs onto the glacier surface. However, once entrained, glacier structure controls the reorientation and redistribution of debris within the ice mass. By taking a whole-glacier approach to describing glacier structure and debris transport, we conclude that individual flow units are unique with regard to structure and debris transfer. Copyright (C) 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1279-1292
Number of pages14
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Volume39
Issue number10
Early online date21 Jan 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2014

Keywords

  • Glacier structure
  • Debris entrainment and transport
  • Flow unit
  • Swiss Alps
  • Vadrec del Forno
  • TEMPERATE VALLEY GLACIER
  • MEDIAL MORAINES
  • SWITZERLAND
  • SVALBARD
  • DAROLLA
  • VALAIS
  • SEDIMENTARY
  • STORGLACIAREN
  • GLACIOLOGY
  • FOLIATION

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