Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Ó Cofaigh, C., Dowdeswell, J.A., Allen, C.S., Hiemstra, J.F., Pudsey, C.J., Evans, J. & Evans, D.J.A Flow dynamics and till genesis associated with a marine-based Antarctic palaeo-ice stream. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2005;24:709-740.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Geophysical and geological data indicate that during the last glacial cycle a palaeo-ice stream drained the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet (APIS) through Marguerite Bay to the edge of the continental shelf via a bathymetric trough (Marguerite Trough). Mega-scale glacial lineations (MSGL) in outer Marguerite Trough are formed in an acoustically transparent sediment unit, consisting of a soft deformation till. The association of MSGL with deformation till indicates that bed deformation occurred beneath the ice stream, and the thickness of the subglacial deforming layer was on the order of several metres. MSGL within outer Marguerite Trough are related to a pre-existing thick sequence of soft sediments on the outer shelf and are inferred to have formed by a combination of subglacial sediment deformation by attenuation from a point source and groove-ploughing. Morphologically, the MSGL differ in several respects from those documented elsewhere and this variation suggests a polygenetic origin for this subglacial landform. An initial advance of the APIS across the Marguerite Bay continental shelf at the LGM deposited a stiff subglacial till. Following this advance, the ice margin within Marguerite Trough retreated 70–100 km before stabilising and depositing a grounding zone wedge. An ice stream then developed in the trough and extended to the shelf edge forming a soft deformation till. Development of the ice stream may have been a glacio-dynamic response to regional deglaciation. Subsequent retreat of the Marguerite Trough ice stream was underway by 13,490 (uncorrected) 14C years before present. Based on the geophysical and core data, ice-stream retreat appears to have been rapid and it contrasts with reconstructions of palaeo-ice streams from other locations in Antarctica. This implies marked regional variations in Antarctic ice-stream dynamics during Late Quaternary deglaciation.

References

Alley, R.B., 1991. Deforming-bed origin for southern Laurentide till
sheets? Journal of Glaciology 37, 67–76.
Alley, R.B., 2001. Continuity comes first: recent progress in understanding
subglacial deformation. In: Maltman, A.J., Hubbard, B.,
Hambrey, M.J. (Eds.), Deformation of Glacial Materials, vol. 176.
Geological Society, Special Publication, London, pp. 171–179.
Alley, R.B., Blankenship, D.D., Bentley, C.R., Rooney, S.T., 1986.
Deformation of till beneath Ice Stream B, West Antarctica. Nature
322, 57–59.
Anandakrishnan, S., Blankenship, D.D., Alley, R.B., Stoffa, P.L.,
1998. Influence of subglacial geology on the position of a West
Antarctic ice stream from seismic observations. Nature 394, 62–65.
Anderson, J.B., Shipp, S.S., Lowe, A.L., Wellner, J.S., Mosola, A.,
2002. The Antarctic ice sheet during the last glacial maximum and its subsequent retreat history: a review. Quaternary Science
Reviews 21, 49–70.
Anderson, J.B., Andrews, J.T., 1999. Radiocarbon constraints on ice
sheet advance and retreat in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. Geology
27, 179–182.
Bart, P.J., Anderson, J.B., 1995. Seismic record of glacial events
affecting the Pacific margin of the northwest Antarctic Peninsula.
American Geophysical Union, Antarctic Research Series 68, 74–95.
Benn, D.I., Evans, D.J.A., 1996. The interpretation and classification
of subglacially deformed materials. Quaternary Science Reviews
15, 23–52.
Benn, D.I., Evans, D.J.A., 1998. Glaciers and Glaciation. Arnold,
London 734p.
Blankenship, D.D., Bentley, C.R., Rooney, S.T., Alley, R.B., 1986.
Seismic measurements reveal a saturated, porous layer beneath an
active Antarctic ice stream. Nature 322, 54–57.
Boulton, G.S., 1987. A theory of drumlin formation by subglacial
sediment deformation. In: Menzies, J., Rose, J. (Eds.), Drumlin
Symposium. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp. 25–80.
Boulton, G.S., Hindmarsh, R.C.A., 1987. Sediment deformation
beneath glaciers: rheology and geological consequences. Journal
of Geophysical Research 92, 9059–9082.
Brown, N.E., Hallet, B., Booth, D.B., 1987. Rapid soft bed sliding of
the Puget glacial lobe. Journal of Geophysical Research 92B,
8985–8997.
Canals, M., Urgeles, R., Calafat, A.M., 2000. Deep sea-floor evidence
of past ice streams off the Antarctic Peninsula. Geology 28, 31–34.
Carr, S., 2000. Micromorphological evidence supporting Late Weichselian
glaciation of the Northern North Sea. Boreas 29, 315–328.
Christoffersen, P., Tulaczyk, S., 2003. Signature of palaeo-ice-stream
stagnation: till consolidation induced by basal freeze-on. Boreas 32,
114–126.
Clark, C.D., 1993. Mega-scale glacial lineations and cross-cutting iceflow
landforms. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 18, 1–19.
Clark, C.D., 1994. Large-scale ice-moulded landforms and their
glaciological significance. Sedimentary Geology 91, 253–268.
Clark, C.D., Tulaczyk, S.M., Stokes, C.R., Canals, M.C., 2003. A
groove-ploughing theory for the production of mega-scale glacial
lineations, and implications for ice-stream mechanics. Journal of
Glaciology 149, 240–256.
Cuffey, K., Alley, R.B., 1996. Is erosion by deforming subglacial
sediments significant? (Toward till continuity). Annals of Glaciology
22, 17–24.
Domack, E., Jacobson, E.A., Shipp, S., Anderson, J.B., 1999. Late
Pleistocene–Holocene retreat of the West Antarctic Ice-Sheet
system in the Ross Sea: Part 2—sedimentologic and stratigraphic
signature. Geological Society of America Bulletin 111,
1517–1536.
Dowdeswell, J.A., 1982. Scanning electron micrographs of quartz sand
grains from cold environments examined using Fourier Shape
analysis. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 52, 1315–1323.
Dowdeswell, J.A., O´ Cofaigh, C., Pudsey, C.J., 2004. Thickness and
extent of the subglacial till layer beneath an Antarctic paleo-ice
stream. Geology 32, 13–16.
Dyke, A.S., Morris, T.F., 1988. Drumlin fields, dispersal trains and ice
streams in arctic Canada. Canadian Geographer 32, 86–90.
Engelhardt, H.F., Kamb, B., 1998. Sliding velocity of Ice Stream B.
Journal of Glaciology 43, 207–230.
Evans, D.J.A., O´ Cofaigh, C., 2003. Depositional evidence for
marginal oscillations of the Irish Sea ice stream in southeast
Ireland during the last glaciation. Boreas 32, 76–101.
Evans, D.J.A., Lemmen, D.S., Rea, B.R., 1999. Glacial landsystems of
the southwest Laurentide ice sheet: modern Icelandic analogues.
Journal of Quaternary Science 14, 673–691.
Evans, J., Pudsey, C.J., 2002. Sedimentation associated with Antarctic
Peninsula ice shelves: implications for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions
of glacimarine sediments. Journal of the Geological
Society of London 159, 233–238.
Evans, J., Pudsey, C.J., O´ Cofaigh, C., Morris, P., Domack, E., 2005.
Late Quaternary glacial history, flow dynamics and sedimentation
along the eastern margin of the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet.
Quaternary Science Reviews, in press.
Eyles, N., Daniels, J., Osterman, L.E., Januszczak, N., 2001. Ocean
drilling program leg 178 (Antarctic Peninsula): sedimentology of
glacially influenced continental margin topsets and foresets. Marine
Geology 178, 135–156.
Gilbert, R., Domack, E.W., 2003. Sedimentary record of disintegrating
ice shelves in a warming climate, Antarctic Peninsula. Geochemistry,
Geophysics, Geosystems 4, 1038.
Haldorsen, S., 1981. Grain-size distribution of subglacial till and its
relation to subglacial crushing and abrasion. Boreas 10, 91–105.
Hiemstra, J.F., 2001a. Microscopic analyses of Quaternary glacigenic
sediments of Marguerite Bay, Antarctic Peninsula. Arctic, Antarctic
and Alpine Research 33, 258–265.
Hiemstra, J.F., 2001b. ‘Dirt pictures’ reveal the past extent of the
grounded Antarctic ice sheet. Ph.D. Thesis, University of
Amsterdam, 231pp.
Hiemstra, J.F., Rijsdijk, K.F., 2003. Observing artificially induced
strain: implications for subglacial deformation. Journal of Quaternary
Science 18, 373–383.
Hindmarsh, R.C.A., 1997. Deforming glacier beds: viscous and plastic
scales of deformation. Quaternary Science Reviews 16, 1039–1056.
Hindmarsh, R.C.A., 1998. Drumlinisation and drumlin-forming
instabilities: viscous till mechanisms. Journal of Glaciology 44,
293–314.
Hooke, R., Le, B., Iverson, N.R., 1995. Grain-size distribution in
deforming subglacial tills: role of grain fracture. Geology 23,
57–60.
Iverson, N.R., Hooyer, T.S., Baker, R.W., 1998. Ring-shear studies of
till deformation: Coulomb-plastic behaviour and distributed strain
in glacier beds. Journal of Glaciology 44, 634–642.
Joughin, I., Tulaczyk, S., 2002. Positive mass balance of the Ross Sea
ice streams, West Antarctica. Science 295, 476–480.
Kamb, B., 1991. Rheological nonlinearity and flow instability in the
deforming bed mechanism of ice stream motion. Journal of
Geophysical Research 96, 16585–16595.
Kamb, B., 2001. Basal zone of the West Antarctic ice streams and its
role in lubrication of their rapid motion. In: Alley, R.B.,
Bindschadler, R.A. (Eds.), The West Antarctic Ice Sheet: Behavior
and Environment, vol. 77. American Geophysical Union, Antarctic
Research Series, pp. 157–199.
Kennedy, D.S., Anderson, J.B., 1989. Glacial-marine sedimentation
and Quaternary glacial history of Marguerite Bay, Antarctic
Peninsula. Quaternary Research 31, 255–276.
King, E.C., Woodward, J., Smith, A.M., Pudsey, C.J., 2003.
Subglacial landforms and physical properties beneath the onset
region of Rutford Ice Stream, West Antarctica. (Abstract) West
Antarctic Ice Sheet Initiative, Tenth Annual Workshop.
Kluiving, S.J., Bartek, L.R., van der Wateren, F.M., 1999. Multi-scale
analyses of subglacial and glaciomarine deposits from the Ross Sea
continental shelf, Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology 28, 90–96.
Larter, R.D., Vanneste, L.E., 1995. Relict subglacial deltas on the
Antarctic Peninsula outer shelf. Geology 23, 33–36.
Larter, R.D., Rebesco, M., Vanneste, L.E., Gamboa, L.A.P., Barker,
P.F., 1997. Cenozoic tectonic, sedimentary and glacial history
of the continental shelf west of Graham Land, Antarctic Peninsula:
geology and seismic stratigraphy of the Antarctic margin,
Part 2. American Geophysical Union, Antarctic Research Series
71, 1–27.
MacAyeal, D.R., Scambos, T.A., Hulbe, C.L., Fahnestock, M.A.,
2003. Catastrophic ice-shelf break-up by an ice-shelf-fragmentcapsize
mechanism. Journal of Glaciology 49, 22–36. Munro-Stasiuk, M., Shaw, J., 2002. The Blackspring Ridge Flute
Field, south-central Alberta, Canada: evidence for subglacial
sheetflow erosion. Quaternary International 90, 75–86.
Murray, T., Dowdeswell, J.A., 1992. Water throughflow and the
physical effects of deformation on sedimentary glacier beds.
Journal of Geophysical Research 97, 8993–9002.
Nam, S.I., 1995. Late Quaternary glacial history and palaeoceanographic
reconstructions along the East Greenland continental
margin: evidence from high-resolution records of stable isotopes
and ice-rafted debris. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Bremen, 158p.

Cofaigh, C., Evans, D.J.A., 2001a. Deforming bed conditions
associated with a major ice stream of the last British ice sheet.
Geology 29, 795–798.

Cofaigh, C., Evans, D.J.A., 2001b. Sedimentary evidence for
deforming bed conditions associated with a grounded Irish Sea
Glacier, southern Ireland. Journal of Quaternary Science 16,
435–454.

Cofaigh, C., Pudsey, C.J., Dowdeswell, J.A., Morris, P., 2002.
Evolution of subglacial bedforms along a paleo-ice stream,
Antarctic Peninsula continental shelf, Geophysical Research
Letters 29, 41-1–41-4. Doi:10.1029/2001.GL014488.

Cofaigh, C., Taylor, J., Dowdeswell, J.A., Pudsey, C.J., 2003.
Palaeo-ice streams, trough mouth fans and high-latitude continental
slope sedimentation. Boreas 32, 37–55.
Ottesen, D., Dowdeswell, J.A., Rise, L., Rokoengen, K., Henriksen,
S., 2002. Large-scale morphological evidence for past ice-stream
flow on the mid-Norwegian continental margin. In: Dowdeswell,
J.A., O´ Cofaigh, C. (Eds.), Glacier-Influenced Sedimentation on
High-Latitude Continental Margins, vol. 203. Geological Society,
Special Publication, London, pp. 245–258.
Parizek, B.R., Alley, R.B., Anandakrishnan, S., Conway, H., 2002.
Sub-catchment melt and long-term stability of ice stream D,
West Antarctica. Geophysical Research Letters 29, 55-1–55-4.
Doi:10.1029/2001GLO14326.
Pope, P.G., Anderson, J.B., 1992. Late Cenozoic glacial history of the
northern Antarctic Peninsula’s western continental shelf: evidence
from the marine record. American Geophysical Union, Antarctic
Research Series 57, 63–91.
Powell, R.D., Molnia, B.F., 1989. Glacimarine sedimentary processes,
facies and morphology of the south-south-east Alaska shelf and
fjords. Marine Geology 85, 359–390.
Powell, R.D., Dawber, M., McInnes, J.N., Pyne, A.R., 1996.
Observations of the grounding-line area at a floating glacier
terminus. Annals of Glaciology 22, 217–223.
Pudsey, C.J., Evans, J., 2001. First survey of Antarctic sub-ice shelf
sediments reveals mid-Holocene ice shelf retreat. Geology 29,
787–790.
Pudsey, C.J., Barker, P.F., Larter, R.D., 1994. Ice sheet retreat from
the Antarctic Peninsula shelf. Continental Shelf Research 14,
1647–1675.
Scherer, R., 1994. A new method for the determination of absolute
abundance of diatoms and other silt-sized sedimentary particles.
Journal of Paleolimnology 12, 171–180.
Scherer, R., Tulaczyk, S., 1997. Diatoms in subglacial sediments yield
clues regarding west Antarctic ice-sheet history and ice-stream
processes. Antarctic Journal of the United States 32, 32–34.
Sharp, M., 1984. Annual moraine ridges at Ska´ lafellsjo¨ kull, south-east
Iceland. Journal of Glaciology 30, 82–93.
Shaw, J., 1994. Hairpin erosional marks, horseshoe vortices and
subglacial erosion. Sedimentary Geology 91, 269–283.
Shaw, J., 1996. A meltwater model for subglacial landscapes. In:
McCann, S.B., Ford, D.C. (Eds.), Geomorphhology Sans Frontie`
res. Wiley, New York, pp. 181–236.
Shaw, J., Faragini, D.M., Kvill, D.R., Rains, R.B., 2000. The
Athabasca fluting field, Alberta, Canada: implications for the
formation of large-scale fluting (erosional lineations). Quaternary
Science Reviews 19, 959–980.
Shepherd, A., Wingham, D., Mansley, J., Corr, H., 2001. Inland
thinning of Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica. Science 291,
862–864.
Shipp, S., Anderson, J., Domack, E., 1999. Late Pleistocene–Holocene
retreat of the West Antarctic ice-sheet system in the Ross Sea: Part
1—Geophysical results. Geological Society of America, Bulletin
111, 1486–1516.
Shipp, S.S., Wellner, J.S., Anderson, J.B., 2002. Retreat signature of a
polar ice stream: sub-glacial geomorphic features and sediments
from the Ross Sea, Antarctica. In: Dowdeswell, J.A.,O´ Cofaigh, C.
(Eds.), Glacier-influenced Sedimentation on High-Latitude Continental
Margins, vol. 203. Geological Society, Special Publication,
London, pp. 277–304.
Smith, A.M., 1997. Basal conditions on Rutford Ice Stream, West
Antarctica, from seismic observations. Journal of Geophysical
Research 102 (B1), 543–552.
Stokes, C.R., Clark, C.D., 1999. Geomorphological criteria for
identifying Pleistocene ice streams. Annals of Glaciology 28, 67–74.
Stokes, C., Clark, C., 2001. Palaeo-ice streams. Quaternary Science
Reviews 20, 1437–1457.
Stokes, C.R., Clark, C.D., 2002. Are long subglacial bedforms
indicative of fast ice flow? Boreas 31, 239–249.
Stokes, C.R., Clark, C.D., 2003. Laurentide ice streaming on the
Canadian shield: a conflict with the ‘soft-bedded’ ice stream
paradigm. Geology 31, 347–350.
Studinger, M., Bell, R.E., Blankenship, D.D., Finn, C.A., Arko, R.A.,
Morse, D.L., Joughin, I., 2001. Subglacial sediments: a regional
geological template for ice flow in West Antarctica. Geophysical
Research Letters 28, 3493–3496.
Truffer, M., Harrison, W.D., Echelmeyer, K.A., 2000. Glacier motion
dominated by processes deep in the underlying till. Journal of
Glaciology 46, 213–221.
Tulaczyk, S., Kamb, B., Scherer, R.P., Engelhardt, H.F., 1998.
Sedimentary processes at the base of a West Antarctic ice
stream: constraints from textural and compositional properties
of subglacial sediment. Journal of Sedimentary Research 68,
487–496.
Tulaczyk, S., Kamb, B., Engelhardt, H.F., 2000a. Basal mechanics of
ice stream B, West Antarctica. I. Till mechanics. Journal of
Geophysical Research 105, 463–481.
Tulaczyk, S., Kamb, B., Engelhardt, H.F., 2000b. Basal mechanics of
ice stream B, West Antarctica. II. Undrained plastic bed model.
Journal of Geophysical Research 105, 483–494.
Tulaczyk, S.M., Scherer, R.P., Clark, C.D., 2001. A ploughing model
for the origin of weak tills beneath ice streams: a qualitative
treatment. Quaternary International 86, 59–70.
van der Meer, J.J.M., 1993. Microscopic evidence of subglacial
deformation. Quaternary Science Reviews 12, 553–587.
van der Meer, J.J.M., 1997. Subglacial processes revealed by the
microscope: particle and aggregate mobility in till. Quaternary
Science Reviews 16, 827–831.
van der Meer, J.J.M., Menzies, J., Rose, J., 2003. Subglacial till:
the deforming glacier bed. Quaternary Science Reviews 22,
1659–1685.
Vaughan, D.G., Smith, A.M., Nath, P.C., Le Meur, E., 2003. Acoustic
impedance and basal shear stress beneath four Antarctic ice
streams. Annals of Glaciology 36, 225–232.
Walder, J.S., Fowler, A., 1994. Channelised subglacial drainage over a
deformable bed. Journal of Glaciology 40, 3–15.
Wellner, J.S., Lowe, A.L., Shipp, S.S., Anderson, J.B., 2001.
Distribution of glacial geomorphic features on the Antarctic
continental shelf and correlation with substrate: implications for
ice behavior. Journal of Glaciology 47, 397–411.

Department of Geography