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Former Ice Shelves in the Canadian High Arctic

  • John England (a1), R. S. Bradley (a2) and G. H. Miller (a3)

Abstract

Moraines deposited by the outermost ice advance across Judge Daly Promontory, northeastern Ellesmere Island, reflect thin, topographically controlled ice lobes extending to sea-level. The termini of two ice lobes were investigated and both produced ice shelves where they flowed into isostatically depressed embayments along western Kennedy Channel. Morphological evidence for these ice shelves occurs at the entrance to these valleys where steeply descending lateral moraines become abruptly horizontal for 2 km. In addition, both the horizontal moraines and associated pro-glacial terraces are fossiliferous down-valley from the apparent grounding line. Based on the differences in elevation between the horizontal moraines and the valley bottoms, the two ice shelves had estimated thicknesses of c. 110 and 150 m. A proglacial outwash terrace at 175 m a.s.l. is considered to represent the approximate relative sea-level during the formation and break-up of the ice shelves. This relative sea-level is consistent with the water depths required to float the calculated ice thicknesses in both valleys. Associated with these ice margins are finite 14C dates of 28 000-30 000 B.P. and amino-acid age estimates of >35 000 B.P. The importance and likelihood of additional past ice shelves in the Canadian High Arctic is discussed.

Résumé

Des moraines déposées par 1'avance extreme de la glace à travers le Judge Daly Promontory, au Nord-Est de l'île d'Ellesmere, sont l'indice de lobes de glace peu épais contrôlés par la topographie et s'étendant jusqu'au niveau de la mer. On a examiné les extrémités de deux lobes de glace et tous deux ont engendré des platformes de glace lorsqu'elles flouaient dans des baies rendues plus profondes par l'isostasie le long de Kennedy Channel occidental. Des preuves morphologiques de l'existence de ces platformes subsistent à l'entrée de ces vallées lorsque les moraines latérales jusque là en pente prononcée deviennent brusquement horizontales sur 2 km. De plus, les moraines horizontales et les terrasses pro-glacîaires associées sont fossilifères à l'aval de la ligne tic rivage apparente. En se basant sur la différence d'altitude entre les moraines horizontales et les fonds de la vallée, les deux glaciers avaient des épaisseurs estimées à 110 et 150 m. Une terrasse pro-glaciaire alluviale à 175 m au-dessus du niveau de la mer est considérée comme représentant le niveau relatif approximatif de la mer pendant la formation et la disparition des glaciers. Ce niveau de la mer est cohérent avec les épaisseurs d'eau requises pour permettre que flotte l'épaisseur de glace calculée dans les deux vallées. A ces formations périglaciaires sont associées des datations au carbone 14 de 28 000 à 30 000 ans avant le présent et des amino-acides âgés de 35 000 ans. L'importance et la vrai semblance de l'existence de glaciers supplémentaires dans le passé du Grand Nord Canadien sont discutées.

Zusammenfassung

Moranenablagerungen vom âussersten Vorsloss des Eises uber das Judge Daly-Vorgebirge im Nordosten von Ellesmere Island lassen auf dunne Eisloben schliessen, die sich dem Gelande anschmiegten und bis zur Kiiste reichten. Die Untersuchung der Rander zweier soleher Eisloben ergab. dass sic beide dort, wo sic in isostatisch abgesenkte Buchten lângs des westlichen Kennedy-Kanals flossen, Schelfeise bildeten. Der geomorphologische Nachweis fur dièse Schelfeise lâsst sich am Eingang zu diesen Senken fïihren, wo steil absteigende Seitenmoranrn plôtzlich auf 2 km horizontal verlaufen. Ausserdem enthalten sowohl die horizontalen Morànen wie die zugehorigen Vorleld-terrassen talabwarts von der erkennbaren Aufsetzlinic Fossilien. Auf Grund des Hohenunterschiedcs zwischen den horizontalen Morànen und den Talsohlen lâsst sich die Dicke der beiden Schelfeise auf etwa nom und 150 m abschàtzen. Eine Schwemmterrasse im Vorfeld mit 175 m Seehohe scheint annàhernd den relativen Meeresspiegel wàhrend der Bildung und des Abbruchs der Sehelfeise anzugeben. Dièse relative Hohe steht in Ubereinstimmung mit den Wassertiefen, die fur das Aufschwimmen von Eisschelfen der berechneten Dicke in beiden Tàlern erforderlich ist. Verkuupft mit diesen Eisrândern sind zuverlâssige "C-Daticrungen von 28 30 000 Jahren vor der Gegenwart und Altcrssehatzungen an Aininosauren von rnehr als 35 000 Jahren. Die Bedeutung und Wahrscheinlichkeit weiterer friiherer Schelfeise in der Kanadischen Hoch-Arktis wird diskutiert.

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Former Ice Shelves in the Canadian High Arctic

  • John England (a1), R. S. Bradley (a2) and G. H. Miller (a3)

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