Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Structure and sedimentology of George VI Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula: Implications for ice-sheet dynamics and landform development

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Bethan DaviesORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2015, The Author(s).Collapse of Antarctic ice shelves in response to a warming climate is well documented, but its legacy in terms of depositional landforms is little known. This paper uses remote-sensing, structural glaciological and sedimentological data to evaluate the evolution of the c. 25000 km2 George VI Ice Shelf, SW Antarctic Peninsula. The ice shelf occupies a north–south-trending tectonic rift between Alexander Island and Palmer Land, and is nourished mainly by ice streams from the latter region. The structure of the ice shelf is dominated by inherited foliation and fractures, and with velocity data indicates a largely compressive flow regime. The formation of a moraine complex at the margin of the ice shelf is controlled by debris entrained within foliation and folds. This englacial debris is of basal origin, and includes both local Mesozoic sedimentary and volcanic lithologies, and exotic crystalline rocks from Palmer Land. Folding of basal ice to a high level in the source glaciers on Palmer Land is required to bring the debris to the surface. These results have implications for understanding flow dynamics of ice shelves under compressive flow, and debris entrainment and moraine formation associated with palaeo-ice shelves. Supplementary material: Photographs of ice-shelf morphology, ice facies and ice structure; detailed descriptions of ice facies, including foliation logs, supporting evidence for interpreting sedimentary facies; complete dataset of sedimentological data, including triangular plots of clast shape, clast roundness histograms, particle-size distribution of sand-size and lower, and pie chart of local clasts versus exotic clasts from Palmer Land; and a table summarizing the characteristics of representative clasts in the ice-shelf moraine, based on thin-section analysis, with indication of their provenance are available at

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hambrey MJ, Davies BJ, Glasser NF, Holt TO, Smellie JL, Carrivick JL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of the Geological Society

Year: 2014

Volume: 172

Issue: 5

Pages: 599-613

Print publication date: 01/07/2015

Online publication date: 26/06/2015

Acceptance date: 03/03/2015

Date deposited: 22/08/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2041-479X

Publisher: Geological Society of London


DOI: 10.1144/jgs2014-134


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
Natural Environment Research Council, Antarctic Funding Initiative