Extremely deep-draft iceberg scouring in the glacial North Atlantic Ocean

Antoon Kuijpers, Friedrich Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Side-scan sonar and sub-bottom profiling investigations of the Iceland-Faeroe Ridge have revealed the widespread presence of iceberg plowmarks at water depths between 750 and 860 m. This is well beyond the maximum water depth reported for ice scouring in the adjacent areas of the North Atlantic. An exceptionally deep iceberg plowmark was found at the southern flank of the ridge, which could be traced down to 940 m water depth. Supported by published nearby sediment core data, a Saalian (MIS 6) age of that iceberg plowmark is suggested. Considering a glacial sea level of 120 m below present, the paleo-draft of this iceberg is estimated to have been at least 820 m. The keel depth of such giant icebergs drifting in the glacial northern North Atlantic significantly exceeds the draft dimensions of large icebergs seen today in the Antarctic. The most likely source area for this extreme deep-draft type of iceberg is inferred to be southern Greenland. Plowmark direction, which in our case indicates iceberg entrainment by the North Atlantic Current, is suggested to be a useful indicator of (sub)surface paleo-circulation during late Pleistocene iceberg surging and deglaciation episodes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-389
Number of pages7
JournalGeo-Marine Letters
Volume27
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate

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