, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 15–29 | Cite as

Geomorphology and development of a high-latitude channel system: the INBIS channel case (NW Barents Sea, Arctic)

  • L. RuiEmail author
  • M. Rebesco
  • J. L. Casamor
  • J. S. Laberg
  • T. A. Rydningen
  • A. Caburlotto
  • M. Forwick
  • R. Urgeles
  • D. Accettella
  • R. G. Lucchi
  • I. Delbono
  • M. Barsanti
  • M. Demarte
  • R. Ivaldi
Original Article


The INBIS (Interfan Bear Island and Storfjorden) channel system is a rare example of a deep-sea channel on a glaciated margin. The system is located between two trough mouth fans (TMFs) on the continental slope of the NW Barents Sea: the Bear Island and the Storfjorden–Kveithola TMFs. New bathymetric data in the upper part of this channel system show a series of gullies that incise the shelf break and minor tributary channels on the upper part of the continental slope. These gullies and channels appear far more developed than those on the rest of the NW Barents Sea margin, increasing in size downslope and eventually merging into the INBIS channel. Morphological evidence suggests that the Northern part of the INBIS channel system preserved its original morphology over the last glacial maximum (LGM), whereas the Southern part experienced the emplacement of mass transport glacigenic debris that obliterated the original morphology. Radiometric analyses were applied on two sediment cores to estimate the recent (~ 110 years) sedimentation rates. Furthermore, analysis of grain size characteristics and sediment composition of two cores shows evidence of turbidity currents. We associate these turbidity currents with density-driven plumes, linked to the release of meltwater at the ice-sheet grounding line, cascading down the slope. This type of density current would contribute to the erosion and/ or preservation of the gullies’ morphologies during the present interglacial. We infer that Bear Island and the shallow morphology around it prevented the flow of ice streams to the shelf edge in this area, working as a pin (fastener) for the surrounding ice and allowing for the development of the INBIS channel system on the inter-ice stream part of the slope. The INBIS channel system was protected from the burial by high rates of ice-stream derived sedimentation and only partially affected by the local emplacement of glacial debris, which instead dominated on the neighbouring TMF systems.


INBIS Channel system Barents Sea Trough mouth fans Glaciated margin 210Pb dating method 



This research was supported by the Italian projects PNRA-EDIPO, the project PNRA-CORIBAR, the rewarding funding project ARCA and the project High North 17, and Spanish projects DEGLABAR (CTM2010-17386) and CORIBAR-ES (CTM2011-14807-E), funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad and the European Regional Development Fund.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Rui
    • 1
    • 7
    Email author
  • M. Rebesco
    • 1
  • J. L. Casamor
    • 2
  • J. S. Laberg
    • 4
  • T. A. Rydningen
    • 4
  • A. Caburlotto
    • 1
  • M. Forwick
    • 4
  • R. Urgeles
    • 3
  • D. Accettella
    • 1
  • R. G. Lucchi
    • 1
  • I. Delbono
    • 5
  • M. Barsanti
    • 5
  • M. Demarte
    • 6
  • R. Ivaldi
    • 6
  1. 1.OGS Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica SperimentaleSgonicoItaly
  2. 2.GRC Geociències Marines, Universitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Institut de Ciències del Mar, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Department of GeosciencesUiT The Arctic University of Norway in TromsøTromsöNorway
  5. 5.Marine Environment Research CentreENEALa SpeziaItaly
  6. 6.Italian Navy Hydrographic InstituteGenoaItaly
  7. 7.University of TriesteTriesteItaly

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