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Proglacial lakes: character, behaviour and geological importance

CARRIVICK, Jonathan L. and TWEED, Fiona (2013) Proglacial lakes: character, behaviour and geological importance. Quaternary Science Reviews, 78. pp. 34-52. ISSN 0277-3791

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Abstract or description

Proglacial lakes are ubiquitous within the Quaternary record and can provide exceptional breadth and depth of palaeoenvironmental information. Present deglaciation is increasing the number and size of proglacial lakes around the world. This study provides a synthesis of knowledge on proglacial lake character and behaviour and critically evaluates the importance of proglacial lakes from a geological perspective. We show how ‘ice-marginal’ or ‘ice-contact’ lakes and other distal proglacial lakes can be distinguished from each other by geomorphological, sedimentological, chemical and biological characteristics. The key controls on proglacial lake geomorphology and sedimentology are outlined and discussed. Proglacial lakes can exacerbate mountain glacier and ice sheet margin ablation via mechanical and thermal stresses, but very large lakes can moderate summer air temperatures and relatively retard summer ice ablation. Proglacial lakes interrupt meltwater flux and are very efficient sediment traps. Hydrological routing and consequent geomorphological activity can be radically modified by sudden drainage of proglacial lakes and resultant glacial lake outburst floods; exceptionally large proglacial lake drainages affected global ocean circulation and global climate during the Quaternary. Overall, analyses of proglacial lakes can provide a valuable insight into (i) patterns, character and behaviour of mountain glaciers, ice sheets and glaciations, and (ii) the impacts of past, present and future deglaciation.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: Previous Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Sciences > Sciences
Depositing User: Fiona TWEED
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2013 11:41
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:40

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