Outburst flooding and the initiation of ice-stream surges in response to climatic cooling: A hypothesis

R. B. Alley, T. K. Dupont, B. R. Parizek, S. Anandakrishnan, D. E. Lawson, G. J. Larson, E. B. Evenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Scopus citations

Abstract

Outburst flooding from subglacial reservoirs and associated surging of ice-streams are caused by processes following climatic cooling that produce ice-shelf grounding on proglacial sills trapping subglacial water, according to an hypothesis presented here. Glaciers often advance into proglacial water bodies. Cooling may allow ice-shelf formation and advance causing grounding on a proglacial sill, trapping subglacial water. Ice-shelf freeze-on to the sill and development of a local reversal in ice-air surface slope over the sill then are likely, allowing ice thickening and water overpressurization. If basal thawing then occurs, as is likely, an outburst flood and a surge may be triggered. These processes may have been involved in Heinrich events, generation of Antarctic subglacial lakes, and meltwater scouring of some regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-89
Number of pages14
JournalGeomorphology
Volume75
Issue number1-2 SPEC. ISS.
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes

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