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Glacial-Marine Sedimentation Processes and Lithofacies of Temperate Tidewater Glaciers, Glacier Bay, Alaska

  • Ross D. Powell

Abstract

This study relates observed processes to sedimentary lithofacies produced by temperate tidewater glaciers in fjord basins. Observed processes that result from interaction between ice, sea, and meltwater control lithofacies production. These are: (1) rates of ice calving and glacier front retreat: these influence relative sedimentation rates, type of sediment accumulated, and environmental energy at a glacier front; (2) positions of debris in or on a glacier: these control where and how debris is released to the marine environment; (3) meltwater streams: these contribute glacial rock flour, of which most glacial-marine sediment is composed. Streams also contribute coarser-grained debris that build ice-contact, subaerial outwash-deltas and submarine fan complexes. Subglacial streams are unique in the fluvial system because they build submarine fans by introducing coarse-grained debris at the base rather than top of a sea water column. Streams produce overflows, interflows, and when sediment concentrations are sufficiently high, underflows in a fjord; and (4) oceanographic parameters: these control berg tracks, rate of ice melting, distribution and water column position of turbid plumes from meltwater streams, vertical mixing of the water column, and bottom current activity on the fjord floor.

Some lithofacies, such as piles of gravel and rubble, diamicton, bergstone mud, laminites, submarine sediment gravity flow deposits, and deltaic wedges occur in front of many glaciers. Other lithofacies such as morainal banks and marine-outwash mud are more restricted in their formation. Lithofacies associations have been used to construct facies models for four different settings within a temperate tide-water glacier regime. Each facies model can be used to describe which combination of above processes was extant during sediment accumulation.

Keywords

Debris Flow Facies Association Glacier Terminus Lithofacies Association Petroleum Geologist Bulletin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ross D. Powell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyNorthern Illinois UniversityDekalbUSA

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