EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The timing of fjord formation and early glaciations in North and Northeast Greenland

Vivi Kathrine Pedersen1, Nicolaj Krog Larsen2, and David Lundbek Egholm1
Vivi Kathrine Pedersen et al.
  • 1Aarhus University, Department of Geoscience, Aarhus, Denmark
  • 2University of Copenhagen, Globe Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark

The timing and extent of early glaciations in Greenland, and their co-evolution with the underlying landscape remain elusive. In this study, we explore the timing of fjord erosion in Northeast and North Greenland between Scoresby Sund (70°N) and Independence Fjord (82°N). By determining the timing of fjord formation, we can improve our understanding of the early history of the Greenland Ice Sheet in these regions.

We use the concept of geophysical relief to estimate fjord erosion and calculate the subsequent flexural isostatic response to erosional unloading. The timing of erosion and isostatic uplift is constrained by marine sediments of late Pliocene-early Pleistocene age that are now exposed on land between ~24 and 230 m a.s.l.

We find that the northern Independence Fjord system must have formed by glacial erosion at average rates of ~0.5-1 mm/yr since ~2.5 Ma, in order to explain the current elevation of the marine Kap København Formation by erosion-induced isostatic uplift. In contrast, fjord formation in the outer parts of southward Scoresby Sund commenced before the Pleistocene, most likely in late Miocene, and continued throughout the Pleistocene by fjord formation progressing inland. Our results suggest that the inception of the Greenland Ice Sheet began in the central parts of Northeast Greenland before the Pleistocene and spread to North Greenland only at the onset of the Pleistocene.  

How to cite: Pedersen, V. K., Krog Larsen, N., and Lundbek Egholm, D.: The timing of fjord formation and early glaciations in North and Northeast Greenland, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10880,, 2020

This abstract will not be presented.


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