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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Glacier surges on Svalbard: a geomorphological perspective Seminar

15 March 2017
Shackleton Building 44, Lecture Theatre B

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Dr Nathaniel O'Grady at N.O' .

Event details

Glacier surges are dynamic, cyclical instabilities characterised by velocity increases and, typically, frontal advances of several kilometres. During glacier surges, large volumes of ice can be transferred to glacier forelands and the ocean system very rapidly. It is recognised that surge-type glaciers are arranged in spatially-restricted clusters, one of which is the High-Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. The percentage of Svalbard glaciers thought to be of surge-type varies significantly from 13-90% according to different sources. Developing a better understanding of which of these figures is most realistic is important in order to fully understand changing Arctic glacier behaviour in a warming climate. However, due to the relatively long return periods (~40-150 years) of Svalbard surges, many may have gone unobserved. In this talk I present diagnostic geomorphological evidence produced during Svalbard glacier surges that can be used to reassess the distribution of surge-type glaciers on the archipelago. These observations may also help to improve the accuracy of surge-type glacier inventories in other surge clusters, and can inform geomorphological interpretations of surge-type behaviour recorded in palaeoglacial environments.

Speaker information

Dr Harold Lovell, University of Portsmouth . Department of Geography

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