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Ground‐penetrating radar (GPR) investigations of a large‐scale buried ice‐marginal landsystem, Skeiðarársandur, SE Iceland

Harrison, Devin; Ross, Neil; Russell, Andrew J.; Jones, Stuart J.

Ground‐penetrating radar (GPR) investigations of a large‐scale buried ice‐marginal landsystem, Skeiðarársandur, SE Iceland Thumbnail


Devin Harrison

Neil Ross

Andrew J. Russell


The sedimentary record of Icelandic ice-contact environments provides critical insights into past glacier margin dynamics and position, relative sea level, and the geomorphic processes that drive the evolution of proglacial environments. This important archive has been little exploited, however, with most glacier and sea-level reconstructions based on limited sedimentary exposures, coring and surface geomorphic evidence. We report an extensive (42 km of data within a 24-km2 study area) and deep (reflections recorded at depths up to 100 m) low-frequency (40 and 100 MHz) ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey of the Sandgígur moraines, SE Iceland. GPR profiles reveal a much larger (67 m high) and extensive (1.25 km wide) buried moraine ridge than that suggested by surface topography (typically 125 m wide and 7 m high). These data reveal that the Sandgígur moraines was deposited during a major Holocene re-advance of Skeiðarárjökull. The moraine ridge is buried by sediments dominated by glacifluvial deposits with an estimated sediment volume of 1.04 km3. We combine GPR-derived subsurface architecture and the surface morphology to develop a conceptual model detailing the geomorphic evolution of the moraine and surrounding region. These results provide new insights into the Holocene evolution of Skeiðarársandur, identifying the presence of a former major ice-margin position, as well as a past relative sea-level limit. Furthermore, we establish that sediment supply and available terrestrial accommodation space are dominant drivers in the formation and evolution of vast sandar environments.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 6, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 20, 2022
Publication Date 2022-10
Deposit Date Mar 29, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 1, 2023
Journal Boreas
Print ISSN 0300-9483
Electronic ISSN 1502-3885
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 51
Issue 4
Pages 824-846
Public URL


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Copyright Statement
© 2022 The Authors. Boreas published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Boreas Collegium

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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