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Influence of grounding ice on the Arctic shelf of Alaska

January 1, 1972

Alaska's Beaufort Sea shelf is characterized by small-scale relief with an average amplitude of 1–2 m and wavelength of 50–100 m. Diving observations confirm that much of the bottom roughness reflects the action of grounded ice. Except for areas in the shadow of islands, bars, and offshore bathymetric highs, the entire shelf surface from the beach to at least the 75-m contour is now or has been modified by ice gouging. Ice contact with the bottom is more common, and rates of sedimentation higher on the inner shelf than on the outer shelf; the density of gouge features is about equal in both areas. Therefore, the chances are that an area of gouging on the inner shelf contains younger gouges than a similar area on the outer shelf.

When ice grounds, it becomes an important agent in the sedimentary and morphologic environment of the Arctic shelf, directly by deforming bottom deposits and secondarily by affecting the current regime near the sediment/ice contact. While bulldozing action and rafting do not seem to contribute significantly to the direct transport of sediment, re-suspension of bottom material during bulldozing, which makes sediment available for transport, may be significant.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1972
Title Influence of grounding ice on the Arctic shelf of Alaska
DOI 10.1016/0025-3227(72)90014-X
Authors E. Reimnitz, P. Barnes, T. Forgatsch, C. Rodeick
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Marine Geology
Series Number
Index ID 70010180
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization