2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 135-25
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM

LANDSYSTEM ANALYSIS OF THREE OUTLET GLACIERS ON THE VATNAJ├ľKULL ICE CAP, ICELAND


LEE, Rebecca E, School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster Univeristy, 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8, Canada, MACLACHLAN, John C., School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, Canada, MALONEY, Katie M., School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster Univerity, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S4K1, Canada and EYLES, Carolyn H., Integrated Science Program & School of Geography & Earth Sciences, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, Canada, leer37@mcmaster.ca

Integrated digital and field based exploration of modern glaciated regions provides information on the sedimentology, geomorphology and processes active in these settings and can be used to better understand ancient glacial systems. A commonly applied methodology is landsystem analysis which uses genetically related landform-sediment assemblages, known as landsystem tracts, to reconstruct the geomorphological evolution of the landscape. Landsystem analysis allows modern systems to be used as analogues for ancient systems which in turn facilitates more accurate paleoenvironmental reconstruction of ancient glacial sediments.

The landsystem tracts of three outlet glaciers of the Vatnajökull Ice Cap in southeast Iceland were defined using a combination of remote sensing techniques and field investigations. The three glaciers selected for study (Svínafellsjökull, Skaftafellsjökull and Mosarjökull) are separated by small mountain ridges but lie within close proximity limiting climatic variability on their behaviour. Initial mapping of the proglacial region of each glacier was performed using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to explore and analyze LiDAR data and aerial imagery obtained from the Icelandic Meteorological Office. A digital elevation model (DEM) of the proglacial region of each glacier was created from these remotely sensed data to illustrate the spatial distribution and scale of landforms. These features were ground-checked in the field (summer 2015) using a portable GIS unit and recorded with sketch maps and photographs. Additional field data were collected to identify sediment types associated with each landsystem tract and sedimentological logs were recorded wherever possible. The integration of remotely-sensed and field data has allowed detailed landsystem maps of the proglacial region of each glacier to be created.

Although the three glaciers are sourced by the same ice cap and are within close proximity there are wide variations in the type, distribution and scale of landforms in the proglacial region including the presence of streamlined features, the relative relief of the landforms, and sediment types. This presentation will explore these differences and how variations in the topography, bedrock type and ice characteristics have influenced the proglacial environment.