Browsing School of Arts and Sciences by Subject "processes and landforms of glacial erosion"
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Sediment redistribution beneath the terminus of an advancing glacier, Taku Glacier (T’aakú Kwáan Sít’i), Alaska.The recently-advancing Taku Glacier is excavating subglacial sediments at high rates over multidecadal timescales. However, sediment redistribution over shorter timescales remains unquantified. We use a variety of methods to study subglacial and proglacial sediment redistribution on decadal, seasonal, and daily timescales to gain insight into sub- and proglacial landscape formation. Both excavation and deposition were observed from 2003 to 2015 (2.8 ± 0.9ma−1 to +2.9 ± 0.9ma−1). The observed patterns imply that a subglacial conduit has occupied the same site over the past decade. Outwash fans on the subaerial end moraine experience fluvial sediment reworking almost year-round, with net sediment gain in winter and net sediment loss in summer, and an overall mass gain between 2005 and 2015.We estimate that tens of meters of sediment still underlie the glacier terminus, sediments which can be remobilized during future activity. However, imminent retreat from the proglacial moraine will limit its sediment supply, leaving the moraine vulnerable to erosion by bordering rivers. Retreat into an over-deepened basin will leave the glacier vulnerable to increased frontal ablation and accelerating retreat.