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TitleGlacigenic debris-flows and down-slope gullies: evidence of a grounded ice margin during past glacials, South Shetland Trench, Antarctica
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LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorStewart, H A; Jamieson, A J; Ó Cofaigh, C; Bradwell, T
SourceProgram and abstracts: 2017 GeoHab Conference, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada; by Todd, B JORCID logo; Brown, C J; Lacharité, M; Gazzola, V; McCormack, E; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 8295, 2017 p. 111, Open Access logo Open Access
LinksGeoHab 2017
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Meeting2017 GeoHab: Marine Geological and Biological Habitat Mapping; Dartmouth, NS; CA; May 1-4, 2017
Documentopen file
Mediaon-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is contained in Program and abstracts: 2017 GeoHab Conference, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
File formatpdf
AreaAntarctica; Antarctic Peninsula; South Shetland Islands; Bransfield Strait; Drakes Passage; King George Island; Antarctica
Lat/Long WENS -63.0000 -54.0000 -61.0000 -63.0000
Subjectsmarine geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; geophysics; tectonics; mapping techniques; oceanography; marine environments; continental margins; continental shelf; continental slope; bathymetry; submarine features; ocean trenches; cold regions research; core samples; geophysical surveys; acoustic surveys, marine; sonar surveys; side-scan sonar; gullies; glaciology; glaciers; glacial erosion; ice margins; glacial deposits; glaciomarine deposits; debris flows; debris flow deposits; glacial history; ice margins; tectonic setting; plate margins; subduction zones; structural features; faults; erosion; turbidity currents; South Shetland Trench
ProgramOffshore Geoscience
Released2017 09 26
AbstractThe South Shetland Trench (SST) is located near the Antarctic Peninsula, around 100 km northwest, and parallel to, the South Shetland Islands. Although a number of studies examining glacial history have been undertaken in the Bransfield Strait located between the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula to the south, the authors believe this is the first study of the seafloor glacial geomorphology, and recent glacial history of the SST. This paper presents initial results from a EUROFLEETS Expedition to the SST that took place in December 2015.
The Expedition collected three gravity cores, 3148 square kilometres of multibeam echosounder data and around 600 line kilometres of Topas sub-bottom data covering part of the southern flank and trench floor of the study area. Additional bathymetry data derived from the Global Multi-Resolution Topography (GMRT) Synthesis (Marine Geoscience Data System comprising a multi-resolution global Digital Elevation Model (DEM) that includes processed multibeam bathymetry data (100 m resolution) where available and gridded seafloor depths (30 arc-second resolution) derived from the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO These combined data reveal the study area, north of King George Island, on the southern flank of the SST to host a system of linear downslope gullies, glacigenic debris flows and glacigenic deposits.
Within the study area glacigenic debris flows are found to extend from the continental shelf break to the lower continental slope. Sub-bottom profiler data penetrated up to 150 ms below seafloor in places and reveal a stacked sequence of debris flows suggestive of a fluctuating ice front that was grounded to, and retreated from, the shelf break on several occasions.
More than eleven individual gullies (and their tributaries) were imaged between 450 m and 3600 m water depth. The gullies are incised up to 250 m below the surrounding sea bed with internal slope angles locally exceeding 45° and were influenced by shallow transform faulting related to subduction processes.
Downslope gullies have been observed on other glaciated margins such as the Scotian slope offshore Canada, Ross Sea Antarctica, north-western Barents Sea and West Shetland Margin offshore north-western UK. The gullies are inferred as being eroded by turbidity currents comprising cold, dense, sediment-rich meltwater released from an ice front located at or near the continental shelf break.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The sixteenth annual GeoHab Conference was held this year (2017) at the Waterfront Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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