Seismic geomorphology and evolution of the Melville Bugt trough mouth fan, northwest Greenland

Andrew M.W. Newton*, Mads Huuse, David R. Cox, Paul C. Knutz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Trough mouth fans on glaciated margins are a common sedimentary feature that contain a record of ice sheet advance and retreat across the continental shelf. This study uses 2D and 3D seismic reflection data across the Melville Bugt Trough Mouth Fan (MB-TMF), offshore northwest Greenland, to document its stratigraphic architecture, glacigenic landforms, and marine deposits. The MB-TMF stratigraphy is characterised by rapid progradation of the continental shelf (over 100 km since ∼2.7 Ma) and heterogeneous truncation or subsidence of topset strata. The variable topset character relates to the repeated growth and retreat of the Greenland Ice Sheet across the shelf since ∼2.7 Ma. Seismic geomorphology and facies analysis of the prograding clinoforms show repeated sequences of debris flow deposits and gullies that are taken to infer gravity-driven processes and the presence of meltwater-related hyperpycnal flows in areas proximal to the ice sheet on the outer shelf. Several sets of mega-scale glacial lineations confirm the presence and flow pathways of successive ice streams since ∼1.3 Ma. Evolution of the MB-TMF can be summarised into four stages that were controlled by variations in ice sheet erosion, topographic forcing of ice stream flow, and changes in accommodation related to glacigenic deposition and tectonic subsidence. These results show that during the Middle Pleistocene Transition there is an apparent switch from a meltwater-dominated depositional regime, to one with greater emplacement of materials by ice directly at the palaeo-shelf edge. These results provide significant new detail about the large-scale glacigenic and marine depositional processes during the repeated fluctuations of the northwest Greenland Ice Sheet into Melville Bugt since ∼2.7 Ma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106798
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume255
Early online date08 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to TGS (2D), Cairn Energy (PITU), and Shell (ANU) for providing the seismic data used within this study. AMWN was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC grant reference number NE/K500859/1 ) and Cairn Energy whom jointly funded his PhD. AMWN also thanks the British Society for Geomorphology for providing a postgraduate research grant that enabled visiting and collaborating with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland during this project. DRC was funded by the NERC Centre for Doctoral Training in Oil & Gas (grant reference number NE/M00578X/1 ) and the British Geological Survey (BGS) via the British University Funding Initiative (studentship number: S356). Schlumberger, Eliis, Geoteric, and ESRI are thanked for providing software. Simon H. Brocklehurst is thanked for comments on the earliest stages of this work. The authors would like to sincerely thank Kelly Hogan and Benjamin Bellwald for taking the time to offer such detailed and insightful comments on the paper, especially in the context of the current health crisis.

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to TGS (2D), Cairn Energy (PITU), and Shell (ANU) for providing the seismic data used within this study. AMWN was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC grant reference number NE/K500859/1) and Cairn Energy whom jointly funded his PhD. AMWN also thanks the British Society for Geomorphology for providing a postgraduate research grant that enabled visiting and collaborating with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland during this project. DRC was funded by the NERC Centre for Doctoral Training in Oil & Gas (grant reference number NE/M00578X/1) and the British Geological Survey (BGS) via the British University Funding Initiative (studentship number: S356). Schlumberger, Eliis, Geoteric, and ESRI are thanked for providing software. Simon H. Brocklehurst is thanked for comments on the earliest stages of this work. The authors would like to sincerely thank Kelly Hogan and Benjamin Bellwald for taking the time to offer such detailed and insightful comments on the paper, especially in the context of the current health crisis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

Copyright:
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Baffin bay
  • Glacial stratigraphy
  • Greenland Ice sheet
  • Ice streams
  • Melville bugt
  • Seismic geomorphology
  • Seismic reflection data
  • Trough mouth fan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology

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