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Preliminary study of laminated, silt-rich debris bands: Matanuska Glacier, Alaska, U.S.A.

  • Staci L. Ensminger (a1), Edward B. Evenson (a1), Grahame J. Larson (a2), Daniel E. Lawson (a3), Richard B. Alley (a4) and Jeffrey C. Strasser (a5)...

Abstract

Several different types of laterally extensive debris bands occur along the western terminus region of the Matanuska Glacier, Alaska, U.S.A. An ice-bed process, which to our knowledge has not previously been recognized and described, forms the most common and most prominent type of debris band at Matanuska Glacier’s terminus. The debris bands are composed of one or several millimeter-thick laminations of silt-rich ice having much higher sediment content than that of the surrounding ice. Samples of these bands and their surrounding englacial ice have been analyzed for anthropogenic tritium (3H), oxygen-18 (δ 18O), and deuterium (δD).We interpreted the laminated, silt-rich debris bands as basal fractures, along which silt-laden, glaciohydraulically supercooled and pressurized waters flowed, healing the fractures by ice growth. This process is analogous to the inward growth of hydrothermal quartz from the sides of an open fracture.

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References

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