The role of topography in landform development at an active temperate glacier in Arctic Norway

Clare Boston, Benjamin M. P. Chandler, Harold Lovell, Paul Weber, Bethan Davies

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Topography exerts a strong control on how glaciers respond to changes in climate. Increased understanding of this role is important for both refining model predictions of future rates of glacier recession, and for reconstructing climatic change from the glacial geological record. In this paper we examine the geomorphological and sedimentological evidence in the foreland of Fingerbreen, a temperate outlet of the plateau icefield Østre Svartisen. The aim is to investigate the relationship between processes of landform generation and the changing influence of topography as recession progressed. The Fingerbreen foreland is dominated by bouldery Little Ice Age moraines and extensive areas of striated bedrock. A heavily fluted zone occurs in the central part of the foreland that is cross-cut by annual transverse and sawtooth moraines. Systematic investigations of the structural architecture of moraines at various locations in the foreland provide evidence for a range of moraine-forming processes, which can be linked to the topographic setting (e.g. deposition on a reverse bedrock slope) and drainage conditions. This includes push and bulldozing of proglacial sediments, squeezing of subglacial sediments and submarginal freeze-on of sediment slabs. We also identify variations in moraine spacing as a result of topography. This research demonstrates the importance of topography when interpreting moraine records in the context of climate and glacier dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Early online date18 Apr 2023
Publication statusEarly online - 18 Apr 2023


  • Little Ice Age
  • topographical control
  • reverse-bed slope
  • ice-marginal moraines
  • flutes

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