Smedley, R and Chiverrell, RC and Ballantyne, CK and Burke, MJ and Clark, CD and Duller, GAT and Fabel, D and McCarroll, D and Scourse, JD and Small, D and Thomas, GSP (2017) Internal dynamics condition centennial-scale oscillations in marine-based ice stream retreat. Geology. ISSN 0091-7613

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Abstract

Rates of ice stream retreat over decades can be determined from repeated satellite surveys and over millennia by palaeoenvironmental reconstructions. Centennial time scales are an important temporal gap in geological observations of value in process understanding and evaluating numerical models. We address this temporal gap by developing a 3 ka and 123 km retreat time series for the Irish Sea Ice Stream (ISIS), a major outlet draining the last British Irish Ice Sheet. The Llŷn Peninsula (NW Wales, UK) contains numerous ice-marginal indicators from which we reconstruct a robust chronological framework of margin oscillations. The landscape documents the retreat of a former marine-terminating ice stream through a topographic constriction, across a reverse bed-slope and across variations in calving margin width. New dating constraints for this sequence are integrated in a Bayesian sequence model to develop a high-resolution ice retreat chronology. Our results show that retreat of the ISIS during the period 24–20 ka displayed centennial-scale oscillatory behavior of the margin despite relatively stable climatic, oceanic and relative sea level forcings. Faster retreat rates coincided with greater axial trough depths as the ice passed over a reverse bed-slope and the calving margin widened (from 65 to 139 km). The geological observations presented here over a 123 km long ice retreat sequence are consistent with theory that marine-based ice can be inherently unstable when passing over a reverse bed-slope, but also that wider calving margins lead to much faster ice retreat.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2017 08:23
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2017 08:23
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/3736

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