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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Antony Long

Long, A.J. & Roberts, D.H. (2003). Late Weichselian deglacial history of Disko Bugt, West Greenland, and the dynamics of the Jakobshavns Isbrae ice stream. Boreas 32(1): 208-226.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

New relative sea-level (RSL) data from Disko Bugt, a large marine embayment in West Greenland, are used to examine the deglacial history of the Jakobshavns Isbrae ice stream. RSL data show rapid deglaciation after 10.3rka cal. yr BP. Once deglaciation began, a bedrock high in the west of the bay exerted no discernible influence on the deglacial chronology. Following initial rapid retreat, ice stream recession slowed as it approached the eastern shores of the bay. Seabed elevations increase here and the ice stream terminus lingered for several thousand years before retreating into the narrow bedrock-confined Jakobshavns Isfjord. The seabed topography of Disko Bugt includes several deep channels which probably record the former course of the ice stream. Using a simple water depth/calving velocity relationship it is estimated that the maximum calving velocity on deglaciation was c. 4.8rkm am1. This is less than the present rate (6-7rkmram1), although ice discharge was two to four times that observed today. Initiation of rapid ice stream retreat was probably caused by ice stream thinning and increased surface melting. A critical point in time was the retreat of the ice stream from shallow continental shelf waters (c. 400rm) into the deep bedrock trough (>800rm) which marks the entrance to Disko Bugt.

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