The landform and sediment assemblage produced by a tidewater glacier surge in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard

Matthew R. Bennett, Michael J. Hambrey, David Huddart, Neil F. Glasser, Kevin Crawford

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This paper describes the landform and sediment assemblage produced by a surge (in 1948) of the Kongsvegen/Kronebreen tidewater glacier complex in northwest Spitsbergen. The main geomorphological products of this advance are two large thrustmoraine complexes on opposite sides of the fjord, and a system of geometrical ridges revealed on glacier decay. The thrust-moraines are composed largely of diamicton, sandy and muddy gravel, gravelly sand, sand and mud, with minor laminites. All of these appear to be derived from the fjord floor and represent both fine fjord basin sediments and coarse grounding-line fan deposits. Thrusting was the principal mode of emplacement of the sediment onto the adjacent land areas during the 1948 advance. However, the geomorphology of the thrust-moraine complexes on either side of the fjord is quite different, reflecting a transpressive regime on the southwest side (mainly long ridges) and a normal compressive regime on the northeast side (short ridges and pinnacles of a 'hummocky' nature). The advance which produced the moraine complex has previously been attributed to a surge of Kongsvegen, but the glaciological and geomorphological evidence suggests that the advance involved both Kongsvegen and Kronebreen. Comparison of the landform assemblage produced by this event with that produced by other tidewater glacier surges demonstrates the diverse range of landform assemblages associated with glacier surges, or other episodes of rapid flow, within glaciomarine environments
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1246
Number of pages34
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Issue number10-11
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1999


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