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Dynamic Holocene glacial history of St. Jonsfjorden, Svalbard

  • Wesley R. Farnsworth
  • Ólafur Ingólfsson
  • Riko Noormets
  • Lis Allaart
  • Helena Alexanderson
  • Mona Henriksen
  • Anders Schomacker
Publishing year: 2017-07-01
Language: English
Pages: 585-603
Publication/Series: Boreas
Volume: 46
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd

Abstract english

Evidence of a dynamic Holocene glacial history is preserved in the terrestrial and marine archives of St. Jonsfjorden, a small fjord-system on the west coast of Spitsbergen, Svalbard. High-resolution, remotely sensed imagery from marine and terrestrial environments was used to construct geomorphological maps that highlight an intricate glacial history of the entire fjord-system. The geomorphology and stratigraphy indicate an early Holocene local glacier advance constrained to the Lateglacial–early Holocene transition. Identification and 14C dating of the thermophilous bivalve mollusc Modiolus modiolus to 10.0±0.12 cal. ka BP suggest a rapid northward migration of the species shortly after deglaciation. Further evidence enhances the understanding of the onset and subsequent climax of the Neoglacial-Little Ice Age in inner St. Jonsfjorden. The present-day terminus of Osbornebreen, the dominating glacier system in St. Jonsfjorden, is located over 8.5 km up-fjord from its Neoglacial maximum extent. Cross-cutting relationships suggest subsequent advances of all the smaller glaciers in the area following the break-up of Osbornebreen. Glacial deposits, landforms and their cross-cutting relationships observed in both terrestrial and marine settings imply a complex and highly dynamic environment through the later part of the Holocene.


  • Geology


  • Glacial history of Svalbard
  • ISSN: 0300-9483
Helena Alexandersson
E-mail: helena [dot] alexanderson [at] geol [dot] lu [dot] se


Quaternary Sciences

+46 46 222 44 83



Aeolian sand project

Project members
Members of the aeolian sand project: Martin Bernhardson, Sara Florén, Edyta Kalińska-Nartiša and Helena Alexanderson.

Read more about the project here.