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Variations in Sediment yield Over the Advance and Retreat of a Calving Glacier, Laguna San Rafael, North Patagonian Icefield

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Michèle Koppes
Affiliation:
Department of Geography, 1984 West Mall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z2
Richard Sylwester
Affiliation:
Golder Associates Inc., Redmond, WA 98052, USA
Andres Rivera
Affiliation:
Golder Associates Inc., Redmond, WA 98052, USA Centro de Estudios Cientificos, Valdivia, Chile
Bernard Hallet
Affiliation:
Department of Earth and Space Sciences and Quaternary Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-1310, USA
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Bathymetric and sub-bottom acoustic data were collected in Laguna San Rafael, Chile, to determine sediment yields during the Little Ice Age advance and subsequent retreat of San Rafael Glacier. The sediment volumes and subaqueous landforms imaged are used to interpret the proglacial dynamics and estimate erosion rates from a temperate tidewater glacier over a complete advance–retreat cycle. Sediment yields from San Rafael Glacier averaged 2.7 × 10 m/a since the end of the Little Ice Age, circa AD 1898, corresponding to average basin-wide erosion rates of 23 ± 9 mm/a; the highest erosion rates, 68 ± 23 mm/a, occurred at the start of the retreat phase, and have since been steadily decreasing. Erosion rates were much lower during glacial advance, averaging at most 7 mm/a, than during retreat. Such large glacial sediment yields over two centuries of advance and retreat suggest that the contribution of sediments stored subglacially cannot account for much of the sediment being delivered to the terminus today. The detailed sub-bottom information of a proglacial lagoon yields important clues as to the timing of erosion, deposition and transfer of glacigenic sediments from orogens to the continental shelves, and the influence of glacier dynamics on this process.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
University of Washington

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