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Jökulhlaup-related ice fracture and supraglacial water release during the November 1996 jökulhlaup, Skeiðarárjökull, Iceland

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andrew RussellORCiD


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During the initial stages of the November 1996 jökulhlaup at Skeiðarárjökull, Iceland, floodwaters burst onto the glacier surface via a series of fractures. This supraglacial drainage led to the formation of a number of distinct ice surface depressions, one of which is investigated in detail. The morphology and structural characteristics of this feature are described, as well as the sedimentology of an associated assemblage of debris-filled fractures. This work suggests that debris-charged subglacial floodwaters travelled up to the glacier surface, where supraglacial flow occurred initially via an extensive network of fractures, orientated parallel to the glacier margin. Supraglacial discharge became progressively more focused into a series of discrete outlets, leading to the mechanical erosion of a number of depressions on the glacier surface. The associated transfer of subglacially derived floodwaters to high levels within the glacier resulted in the rapid entrainment of large volumes of sediment which may influence the patterns, processes and products of ice-marginal sedimentation in the future.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Waller RI, Russell AJ, Knudsen Ó, van Dijk TAGP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography

Year: 2001

Volume: 83

Issue: 1-2

Pages: 29-38

ISSN (print): 0435-3676

ISSN (electronic): 1468-0459


DOI: 10.1111/j.0435-3676.2001.00142.x


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