Variable history of Quaternary ice-sheet advance across the Beaufort Sea margin, Arctic Ocean

Posted By News On November 19, 2012 - 6:31pm

This study uses high-resolution, two-dimensional seismic reflection data, collected by ION Geophysical Corporation as part of the BeaufortSPAN East survey, to examine the seismic stratigraphy and sedimentary architecture of a 1000-km-long section of the Beaufort Sea margin.

Three cross-shelf troughs, representing locations of former ice streams draining the north-west sector of the Quaternary North American Ice Sheet, are examined: the Mackenzie, Amundsen Gulf, and M'Clure Strait systems. The objectives of this work by C.L. Batchelor and colleagues are to constrain the number of ice advances through each trough, to discuss the possible timing of these events, and to examine the impact of Quaternary glaciation on the continental shelf and adjacent slope.

The results of this study demonstrate significant contrasts between the Mackenzie Trough on the western Beaufort Sea margin and the Amundsen Gulf and M'Clure Strait troughs to the east, both in terms of their glacial history and resulting architecture.

There is evidence for only two ice advances through the Mackenzie Trough and at least nine through the Amundsen Gulf Trough. Whereas the slope beyond the Mackenzie Trough lacks a significant glacial-sedimentary depocenter, major trough-mouth fans are present beyond Amundsen Gulf and M'Clure Strait.

Paper: C.L. Batchelor et al., doi: 10.1130/G33669.1

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