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Identification and characteristics of surge-type glaciers on Novaya Zemlya, Russian Arctic

  • Katie L. Grant (a1), Chris R. Stokes (a2) and Ian S. Evans (a2)

Abstract

We present a comprehensive new inventory of surge-type glaciers on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, using high-resolution (up to 4 m) satellite imagery from 1976/77 (Hexagon), 1989 (Landsat TM), 2001 (Landsat ETM+) and 2006 (ASTER). A total of 692 glaciers and their forelands were observed for glaciological and geomorphological criteria indicative of glacier surging (e.g. looped moraines, heavy surface crevassing, surface potholes, thrust-block moraines, concertina eskers). This enabled the identification of 32 potential surge-type glaciers (compared with four previously identified) representing 4.6% of the total but 18% by glacier area. We assess the characteristics of surge-type glaciers. Surge-type glaciers are statistically different from non-surge-type glaciers in terms of their area, length, surface slope, minimum elevation, mid-range elevation and terminus type. They are typically long (median length 18.5 km), large (median area 106.8 km2) outlet glaciers, with relatively low overall surface slopes (median slope 1.7°) and tend to terminate in water (marine or lacustrine). They are predominantly directed towards and located in the more maritime western region of the Russian Arctic, and we suggest that surge occurrence might be related to large and complex catchment areas that receive increased delivery of precipitation from the Barents Sea.

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References

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Journal of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0022-1430
  • EISSN: 1727-5652
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