High Resolution Mapping of Offshore and Onshore Glaciogenic Features in Metamorphic Bedrock Terrain, Melville Bay, Northwestern Greenland

TitleHigh Resolution Mapping of Offshore and Onshore Glaciogenic Features in Metamorphic Bedrock Terrain, Melville Bay, Northwestern Greenland
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsFreire, FF, Gyllencreutz, R, Greenwood, S, Mayer, LA, Egilsson, A, Thorsteinsson, T, Jakobsson, M
Date PublishedDecember 1
KeywordsCombined onshore-offshore mapping, Glacial erosional landforms, High-resolution mapping, Melville Bay, northwest Greenland

Geomorphological studies of previously glaciated landscapes are important to understand how ice sheets and glaciers respond to rapidly changing climate. Melville Bay, in northwestern Greenland, contains some of the most sensitive but least studied ice sheet sectors in the northern hemisphere, where the bathymetric knowledge previously was restricted to a few sparsely distributed single beam echo soundings. We present here the results of high-resolution, geomorphological mapping of the offshore and onshore landscapes in Melville Bay using multibeam sonar and satellite data, at 5- and 10-m resolutions respectively. The results show a similar areally-scoured bedrock-dominated landscape with a glacially modified cnoc-and-lochan morphology on the inner shelf (150–500 m depth) and on the nearby exposed coast. This is manifested by the presence of U-shaped troughs, moutonée-type elongated landforms, stoss-and-lee forms, and streamlined features. The submarine landscape shows features that are characteristic of bedrock in folded, faulted, and weathered metamorphic terrain, and, to a lesser extent, glacially molded bedforms; while coastal landforms exhibit higher relief, irregular-shaped basins, and more subdued fracture valleys. Although generally similar, the onshore and offshore landscapes contain examples of distinctly different landform patterns, which are interpreted to reflect a longer exposure to long-term deep weathering as well as to more recent periglacial weathering processes on land. The spatial variability in the distribution of landforms across the landscape in both study areas is mostly attributed to differences in lithological properties of the bedrock. The lack of sediment cover on the inner shelf is likely a result of a capacity for sediment erosion and removal by the West Greenland Current flowing northward over the area in combination with limited sediment supply from long sea ice-cover seasons. The distribution and orientation of the landforms in the offshore part indicate ice movement toward the NW, and suggests that this area acted as a tributary or onset region for the major paleo ice stream that formed the present day Melville Bay Trough.

Publication Linkhttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169555X15301240