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Dynamics and retreat of the Late Weichselian Kongsfjorden ice stream, NW Svalbard

  • Mona Henriksen
  • Helena Alexanderson
  • Jon Y. Landvik
  • Henriette Linge
  • Gustaf Peterson
Publishing year: 2014
Language: English
Pages: 235-245
Publication/Series: Quaternary Science Reviews
Volume: 92
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

Terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide dating in combination with detailed landform mapping in the Kongsf-jordhallet area, NW Svalbard, have provided new insight on configuration, dynamics, and deglaciation of the Late Weichselian Kongsfjorden ice stream. The minimum Late Weichselian ice surface elevation in Kongsfjorden was >449 m a.s.l. indicating considerably thicker ice and a steeper surface gradient than earlier suggested. For the adjacent inter-ice stream area an even steeper surface slope is reconstructed. The glacial landforms, as well as the surface exposure ages of erratic boulders at different elevations, suggest a gradual lowering of the ice surface. Deglaciation of the higher elevations was probably underway by 20.0 ka. At ca 16.6 ka a large moraine complex ('the Kongsfjorden moraine') was deposited close to the fjord mouth. The shape of the moraines, the steep ice surface gradient, as well as the correlation to fine laminated clay lacking ice rafted debris deposited in the trough beyond the moraine suggest that ice dynamics switched from ice-stream behaviour to a slower flowing outlet (tidewater) glacier. A Younger Dryas or Early Holocene advance of local valley glaciers is shown by moraine lobes cross-cutting the Late Weichselian lateral moraines. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Geology
  • Svalbard
  • Surface exposure dating
  • Ice stream dynamics
  • Deglaciation


  • Glacial history of Svalbard
  • ISSN: 0277-3791
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.