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The sedimentary architecture of outburst flood eskers: A comparison of ground-penetrating radar data from Bering Glacier, Alaska and Skeiðarárjökull, Iceland

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Matthew Burke, Professor Andrew RussellORCiD


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We present ground-penetrating radar (GPR) profiles that reveal the sedimentary architecture of an esker deposited during a surge-associated outburst flood at the Bering Glacier, Alaska. The wide, upflow end of the esker contains a transition from large backset beds to large foreset beds interpreted to reflect composite macroform development in an enlarged part of the conduit. By contrast, the narrow, downflow portion of the esker is dominated by plane beds interpreted to have been deposited where the conduit was constricted and the flow was faster. A previously studied outburst esker at Skeiðarárjökull, Iceland, has a similar morphology and stratigraphic architecture. This suggests that outburst floods generate distinct depositional signatures in eskers, both in terms of morphology and sedimentary architecture. Identification of these distinct signatures in ancient eskers will help assess the paleohydraulic conditions under which ancient eskers formed and, by extension, the nature of meltwater drainage systems beneath the Laurentide and Eurasian ice sheets.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Burke MJ, Woodward J, Russell AJ, Fleisher PJ, Bailey PK

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geological Society of America Bulletin

Year: 2010

Volume: 122

Issue: 9-10

Pages: 1637-1645

Print publication date: 10/05/2010

ISSN (print): 0016-7606

ISSN (electronic): 1943-2674

Publisher: Geological Society of America


DOI: 10.1130/B30008.1


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