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Geosciences 2018, 8(6), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8060194

The Glacial Geomorphology of the Ice Cap Piedmont Lobe Landsystem of East Mýrdalsjökull, Iceland

1
Department of Geography, Durham University, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
2
Institute of Geoecology and Geoinformation, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan 61712, Poland
3
Department of Geography, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 May 2018 / Revised: 24 May 2018 / Accepted: 28 May 2018 / Published: 30 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glacial and Geomorphological Cartography)

Abstract

A surficial geology and geomorphology map of the forelands of the Sandfellsjökull and Oldufellsjökull piedmont lobes of the east Mýrdalsjökull ice cap is used to characterise the historical and modern landscape imprint in a glacial landsystems context. This serves as a modern analogue for palaeoglaciological reconstructions of ice cap systems that operated outlet lobes of contrasting dynamics, but the subtle variability in process-form regimes is encoded in the geomorphology. The landsystems of the two piedmont lobes reflect significantly different process-form regimes, and hence contrasting historical glacier dynamics, despite the fact that they are nourished by the same ice cap. The Sandfellsjökull landsystem displays the diagnostic criteria for active temperate glacier operation, including arcuate assemblages of inset minor push moraines and associated flutings, kame terrace and ice-dammed lake deposits, linear sandar directed by overridden moraine arcs, and since 1945, features, such as ice-cored, pitted, and glacially pushed outwash fans that are linked to englacial esker networks representative of recession into an overdeepening. Moraine plan forms have also changed from weakly crenulated and discontinuous curvilinear ridges to sawtooth features and crevasse-squeeze ridges and till eskers in response to changing proglacial drainage conditions. The Oldufellsjökull landsystem displays subtle signatures of jökulhlaup-driven surges, including sparse and widely spaced moraine clusters that are separated by exceptionally long flutings. The subtlety of the surge imprint at Oldufellsjökull was recognised only by comparison with nearby Sandfellsjökull, suggesting that palaeo-surging has likely been under-estimated in the ancient landform record. Hence, the simple imprint of sparse and widely spaced moraine clusters that are separated by exceptionally long flutings should be included as possible surge-diagnostic criteria. View Full-Text
Keywords: glacial landsystems; Mýrdalsjökull; surging glaciers; active temperate glaciers; glacial geomorphology glacial landsystems; Mýrdalsjökull; surging glaciers; active temperate glaciers; glacial geomorphology
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Evans, D.J.A.; Ewertowski, M.; Orton, C.; Graham, D.J. The Glacial Geomorphology of the Ice Cap Piedmont Lobe Landsystem of East Mýrdalsjökull, Iceland. Geosciences 2018, 8, 194.

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