A study has been made of late Quaternary depositional processes and bottom current activity on the Southeast Greenland margin, using seismic, sub-bottom profiling and deep-tow side-scan sonar data as well as sediment core information. The seabed data demonstrate the occurrence of strong, southerly bottom currents prevailing on the slope and rise. Well-defined longitudinal bedforms indicate maximum mean near-bottom current velocities of up to at least 1.0 m/s at the depth stratum of Labrador Sea water (800-1500 m). Similarly strong currents occur in Denmark Strait overflow water (DSOW) at the base of the slope, whereas more basinward the maximum DSOW flow speed is lower. Iceberg plow marks were found down to about 700 m water depth. Both at the shelf edge and on the lower slope and rise the seafloor morphology is indicative of downslope sediment transport and mass flow deposition, which is concluded to be a typically glacial feature. After generally more sluggish deep-water circulation during the last glacial maximum, DSOW basin ventilation was re-established shortly before 13.3 ka. On the shelf, in front of the retreating Greenland ice margin, permanent or semi-permanent sea ice conditions prevailed until about 12.5 ka. At that time increased Irminger Current activity had resulted in warming, and East Greenland Current (EGC)-controlled iceberg drift increased. No evidence was found for a return to extreme glacial conditions or a ceasing of DSOW flow during the Younger Dryas. Abundant coarse IRD collected at greater water depth from shallow sub-seabed strata has a provenance mainly in the northern part of East Greenland (68-73°N), which demonstrates the existence of a pre-Holocene EGC system initially extending to beyond the shelf edge.
- Programområde 5: Natur og klima