Back to search

SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

Late-glacial and present landscape evolution following deglaciation in a climate-sensitive High Arctic region

Awarded: NOK 0.39 mill.

The slopes of the Kongsfjorden area have been developing since their respective time of deglaciation. Since the deglaciation history in this area is known quite well (Henriksen et al., 2014), one can use a space for time substitution to investigate landscape change as a function of time. Landscape change will be approached by considering a source-to-sink framework, and thus focusing on sites where either erosion or deposition (or both) can be quantified from the baseline of glacier retreat. To make the approach feasible, we focus on a limited number of settings. 1) high altitude and lower slope gentle-angled surfaces subjected to active layer solifluction and frost creep, creating distinct creep landforms. 2) rock walls exposed to weathering and becoming the source of mass movements that build up talus slopes. Some talus slopes develop further into rock glaciers. 3) ice-cored moraines on slopes constituting a well-defined landform as well as a slope sediment source that can be depleted from mass movements and thermo-karst processes. 4) fluvial channels on slopes caused by erosion and providing effective export of fine-grained materials and solutes, and retention of coarse debris. Methods used in the project. - Overview geomorphological mapping of slope systems of the Kongsfjorden area at different sites from aerial photographs and field investigations. - Field analysis of selected slopes; geomechanical analysis; geomorphometric and geophysical investigations of sediment source and sink volumes and related drainage systems. - Remote analysis of the selected slopes, rock fall and debris 2D-3D numerical modelling). Data from the project will be used to assess the temporal evolution of the paraglacial sediment delivery component, and for developing conceptual models of geomorphological slope evolution (related to solifluction, rock walls, rock glaciers and moraines) in different lithological and geomorphological settings of the Kongsfjorden area.

Funding scheme:

SSF-Svalbard Science Forum