University of Cambridge > > Scott Polar Research Institute - Physical Sciences Seminar > Glacial landsystems: modern polar and alpine analogues for Quaternary palaeoglaciology

Glacial landsystems: modern polar and alpine analogues for Quaternary palaeoglaciology

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Accelerated historical recession of glacier snouts throughout the world has resulted in the exposure of large areas of former glacier beds and the abandonment of substantial ice-marginal landforms such as moraines and glacifluvial depocenters. Inset sequences of these landforms document the pattern, pace, and timing of glacier recession and also readvances triggered by regional climate oscillations. In high latitude and high altitude regions, glacier recession has resulted in the development of substantial ice-cored terrain, which demonstrates the importance of retarded deglaciation in the evolution of glacial landforms. Therefore, the wide range of landform assemblages that characterizes these deglaciated landscapes provides a set of invaluable modern analogues or process-form models for use in paleoglaciological reconstruction, especially where spatial and temporal variability in glacier dynamics and thermal characteristics results in the juxtaposition of different diagnostic terrain types. A landsystem framework is used to classify a range of deglaciated terrains, focusing specifically on moraines and glacifluvial depo-centers as the most significant landforms charting glacier recession. Landsystem signatures vary according to glacier morphology and dynamics and therefore the initial focus of this presentation is on the role of glacier thermal regimes in moraine/till construction and the operation of the glacifluvial depositional system.

This talk is part of the Scott Polar Research Institute - Physical Sciences Seminar series.

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