Geothermal control on flow patterns in the last glacial maximum ice sheet of Iceland

Research areas:
Year:
2000
Authors:
Journal:
EARTH SURFACE PROCESSES AND LANDFORMS
Volume:
25
Number:
1
Pages:
59-76
Month:
January
ISSN:
0197-9337
BibTex:
Abstract:
Because it is located both on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and on a mantle
plume, Iceland is a region of intense tectonics and volcanism. During
the last glaciation, the island was covered by an ice sheet
approximately 1000 m thick. A reconstruction of the ice flow lines,
based on glacial directional features, shows that the ice sheet was
partly drained through fast-flowing streams. Fast flow of the ice
streams has been recorded in megascale lineations and flutes visible on
the currently deglaciated bedrock, and is confirmed by simple mass
balance considerations. Locations of the major drainage routes correlate
with locations of geothermal anomalies, suggesting that ice stream
activity was favoured by lubrication of the bed by meltwater produced in
regions of high geothermal heat flux. Similar control of ice flow by
geothermal activity is expected in ice sheets currently covering
tectonically and volcanically active area such as the West Antarctic ice
sheet. Copyright (C) 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.