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Tectonic processes in a surge-type glacier

Sharp, Martin and Lawson, Wendy and Anderson, Robert S. (1988) Tectonic processes in a surge-type glacier. Journal of Structural Geology, 10 (5). pp. 499-515. ISSN 0191-8141. doi:10.1016/0191-8141(88)90037-5.

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The 1982–1983 surge of Variegated Glacier involved the development, growth and downglacier propagation of a velocity peak associated with rapid basal sliding facilitated by high subglacial water pressures. Passage of the velocity peak through the glacier was preceded by an episode of longitudinal shortening and followed by an episode of elongation. The deformation history of the glacier ice was dependent upon location relative to the surge nucleus and the final position reached by the propagating velocity peak. Ice above the surge nucleus experienced continuous and cumulative elongation; ice below the final position of the velocity peak experienced continuous and cumulative shortening; ice between these two points experienced shortening followed by elongation and low cumulative strain. The large-scale pattern of ice structure development reflects these deformation histories. Surging is equivalent to thrust sheet emplacement by a combination of gravity gliding over a weakened basal layer and ‘push from behind’, with the gravity-driven motion of the surging part of the glacier providing the push which allows the surge front to propagate. The relationships established between the deformation history of surging glaciers and the development of ice structures may facilitate the interpretation of structures in thrust sheets.

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Additional Information:© 1988 Elsevier Ltd. Received 2 July 1987; accepted in revised form 7 March 1988. This work was supported by The Royal Society, The Nuffield Foundation, Merton College, Oxford, and NSF Grants EAR-79-19530 and DPP-82-00725 to the University of Washington. Wendy Lawson acknowledges receipt of a NERC Research Studentship. We are indebted to Professor C. F. Raymond for the opportunity to work at Variegated Glacier and for making available unpublished data concerning the 1982-1983 surge. Fieldwork was carried out with permission of the U.S. National Forest Service (Tongass National Forest) and Park Service (Wrangell-St Elias National Park). Gulf Air Taxi and Livingston Helicopters, Yakutat, Alaska, provided logistic support. Drs M. J. Hambrey, P. J. Hudleston, C. J. Talbot and N. H. Woodcock, and an anonymous reviewer made helpful comments on an earlier draft.
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Nuffield FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170425-154222947
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Official Citation:Martin Sharp, Wendy Lawson, Robert S Anderson, Tectonic processes in a surge-type glacier, Journal of Structural Geology, Volume 10, Issue 5, 1988, Pages 499-515, ISSN 0191-8141, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:76921
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Apr 2017 01:46
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 17:03

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