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A review of glacier outburst floods in Iceland and Greenland with a megafloods perspective

Carrivck, J and TWEED, Fiona (2019) A review of glacier outburst floods in Iceland and Greenland with a megafloods perspective. Earth Science Reviews, 196. ISSN 0012-8252

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The very largest glacier outburst floods have been termed ‘megafloods’ given their volume and peak discharge. That definition might be revised because those floods have become understood due to their distinctive and pervasive landscape impacts. At least three floods in Iceland can be categorized as megafloods since they produced impressive bedrock canyons and giant fluvially-transported boulders. Glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs) in Greenland might also have megaflood-type attributes given the enormous lake volumes drained. We therefore here present the first review of glacier outburst floods in Greenland: sites Isvand, Russell Glacier, Kuannersuit Glacier, Lake Tininnilik, two unnamed lakes near Amitsulooq Ice Cap, and Iluliallup Tasersua, Base Camp Lake, Lake Hullett, Qorlortorssup Tasia, Imaersartoq, Tordensø, North Midternæs and an outlet glacier of the A. P. Olsen Ice Cap. Overall, megaflood-type landscape impacts in Iceland tend to be best-preserved and most easily identified inland although there has also been extensive offshore sedimentation. There are very few reported impacts of glacier outburst floods in Greenland. In Greenland ice-dam failure causes frequent flooding compared to the volcanically-triggered floods in Iceland and this combined with the proximity of the Greenland glacier lakes to the coast means that most proglacial channels in Greenland are flood-hardened and most landscape impact is likely to be offshore in estuaries and fjords. Future floods with megaflood-type attributes will occur in Iceland induced by volcanic activity. In Greenland they will be induced by extreme weather and rapid ice melt. Any potential landscape impact of these future floods remains open to question.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: School of Creative Arts and Engineering > Humanities and Performing Arts
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2019 15:30
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:56

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