Glacier extent and sea level variation during the Late Weichselian on northwest Spitsbergen
Lehman, Scott J.
Forman, Steven L.
- Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
(issn: 1751-8369, eissn: 1751-8369)
The nature and timing of the last glaciation in the Svalbard- Barents Shelf region has been a major source of debate for the last century. Presently, the results of most glacial geologic investigations along the west coast of Spitsbergen suggest a diminutive Late Weichselian glaciation in that area - an argument that rests primarily on the occasional occurrences of ice Limit features and on the widespread distribution of well preserved pre-Late Weichselian raised marine terraces. Proponents of more extensive Late Weichselian ice cover rest their case on: 1) the magnitude of postglacial uplift in the area, which reaches 60 m on some headlands and more than 100 m near the center of the archipelago (Salvigsen unpublished), 2) on the possibility that pre-Late Weichselian beaches might survive coverage by cold-based ice and 3) on the further possibility that ice limit features may record former grounding lines within fjords instead of former ice margins. Because of this controversy, we present a large body of new uplift data that we believe is only compatible with restricted Late Weichselian glaciation of west Spitsbergen, and that is suggestive of larger ice loads to the east. This loading may have been confined to the eastern part of the archipelago, or related to a possible Barents Shelf Ice Sheet.