Ice-sheet scale comparison of modelled subglacial drainage pathways with mapped esker networks

LIVINGSTONE, Stephen J., STORRAR, Robert D., HILLIER, John K., STOKES, Chris R., CLARK, Chris D. and TARASOV, Lev (2015). Ice-sheet scale comparison of modelled subglacial drainage pathways with mapped esker networks. Geomorphology, 246, 104-112.

Livingstone et al (2015) Geomorphology.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (3MB) | Preview
Official URL:
Link to published version:: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2015.06.016


Eskers record the signature of channelisedmeltwater drainage during deglaciation providing vital information on the nature and evolution of subglacial drainage. In this paper, we compare the spatial pattern of eskers beneath the former Laurentide Ice Sheet with subglacial drainage routes diagnosed at discrete time intervals from the results of a numerical ice-sheet model. Perhaps surprisingly,we showthat eskers predominantly occur in regions where modelled subglacial water flow is low. Eskers and modelled subglacial drainage routes were found to typically match over distances of b10 km, and most eskers show a better agreement with the routes close to the ice margin just prior to deglaciation. This supports a time-transgressive esker pattern, with formation in short (b10km) segments of conduit close behind a retreating ice margin, and probably associated with thin, stagnant or sluggish ice. Esker-forming conduits were probably dominated by supraglacially fed meltwater inputs. We also show that modelled subglacial drainage routes containing the largest concentrations of meltwater show a close correlation with palaeo-ice stream locations. The paucity of eskers along the terrestrial portion of these palaeo-ice streams and meltwater routes is probably because of the prevalence of distributed drainage and the high erosion potential of fast-flowing ice.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Built Environment Division Research Group
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2015.06.016
Depositing User: Robert Storrar
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2016 11:28
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2016 22:58

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics