Ice stream reorganization and glacial retreat on the northwest Greenland shelf

A.M.W. Newton, P.C. Knutz, M. Huuse, P. Gannon, S.H. Brocklehurst, O.R. Clausen, Y. Gong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding conditions at the grounding-line of marine-based ice sheets is essential for understanding ice sheet evolution. Offshore northwest Greenland, knowledge of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) ice sheet extent in Melville Bugt was previously based on sparse geological evidence. This study uses multibeam bathymetry, combined with 2-D and 3-D seismic reflection data, to present a detailed landform record from Melville Bugt. Seabed landforms include mega-scale glacial lineations, grounding-zone wedges, iceberg scours, and a lateral shear margin moraine, formed during the last glacial cycle. The geomorphology indicates that the LGM ice sheet reached the shelf edge before undergoing flow reorganization. After retreat of ~80 km across the outer shelf, the margin stabilized in a mid-shelf position, possibly during the Younger Dryas (12.9–11.7 ka). The ice sheet then decoupled from the seafloor and retreated to a coast-proximal position. This landform record provides an important constraint on deglaciation history offshore northwest Greenland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7826-7835
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2017


  • deglaciation
  • geomorphology
  • Greenland Ice Sheet
  • ice stream
  • Last Glacial Maximum
  • megascale glacial lineations

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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