Reconstructing past glacier dynamics and erosion from glacial geomorphic evidence: Snowdon, North Wales

Sharp, M., Dowdeswell, J. A. and Gemmell, J. C. (1989) Reconstructing past glacier dynamics and erosion from glacial geomorphic evidence: Snowdon, North Wales. Journal of Quaternary Science, 4(2), pp. 115-130. (doi:10.1002/jqs.3390040203)

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Abstract

Bedrock surfaces exposed around Llyn Llydaw, North Wales demonstrate contrasting styles of erosion beneath a Late Devensian ice sheet and a Loch Lomond Stadial (LLS) valley glacier. Ice sheet erosion involved lee-side fracturing, surface fracture wear and abrasive wear, while LLS erosion was primarily by abrasive wear. Preservation of ice sheet erosional features indicates limited rates of erosion during the LLS. Analysis of the geometry and distribution of erosional markings suggests that the low erosional capacity of the LLS glacier was due to a low basal sliding velocity. This prevented the formation of lee-side cavities, reduced the debris flux over the bed and minimised particle-bed contact loads. Reconstructions of the mass balance and geometry of the LLS glacier indicate that most of its balance velocity could be achieved by internal deformation alone. A combination of low subglacial water pressures and an unusually rough substrate explain the low sliding velocities. High bed roughness is due to the absence of leeside cavities and a change in flow orientation between ice sheet and LLS times, which meant that the LLS glacier was in contact with roughness elements which were generated in cavities beneath the ice sheet.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gemmell, Professor Campbell
Authors: Sharp, M., Dowdeswell, J. A., and Gemmell, J. C.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering
Journal Name:Journal of Quaternary Science
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0267-8179
ISSN (Online):1099-1417

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