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Friday, July 1, 2016

M. A. Cooper et al., GRL (2016), Paleofluvial landscape inheritance for Jakobshavn Isbræ catchment, Greenland

Please go to the link to the full, open-access article for the amazing figures showing the ancient river beds under the ice sheet:

Geophysical Research Letters,  (21 June 2016); doi10.1002/2016GL069458

Paleofluvial landscape inheritance for Jakobshavn Isbræ catchment, Greenland

M. A. Cooper*, K. Michaelides, M. J. Siegert and J. L. Bamber


Subglacial topography exerts strong controls on glacier dynamics, influencing the orientation and velocity of ice flow, as well as modulating the distribution of basal waters and sediment. Bed geometry can also provide a long-term record of geomorphic processes, allowing insight into landscape evolution, the origin of which may predate ice sheet inception. Here we present evidence from ice-penetrating radar data for a large dendritic drainage network, radiating inland from Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland's largest outlet glacier. The size of the drainage basin is ∼450,000 km2 and accounts for about 20% of the total land area of Greenland. Topographic and basin morphometric analyses of an isostatically uplifted (ice-free) bedrock topography suggests that this catchment predates ice sheet initiation and has likely been instrumental in controlling the location and form of the Jakobshavn ice stream, and ice flow from the deep interior to the margin, now and over several glacial cycles.

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