EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A contourite drift succession in north-east Baffin Bay: a high-resolution Pleistocene archive of Greenland ice sheet and ocean variability

Paul C. Knutz1, Katrine Juul Andresen2, John R. Hopper3, Lara F. Perez4, Calvin Campbell5, Boris Dorschel6, Ole Bennike1, Henrieka Detlef2, Katrine Elnegaard Hansen2, Rebecca Jackson7, Anne Jennings9, Nicolaj Krog Larsen10, Niels Nørgaard-Pedersen1, Christof Pearce2, Hans Røy8, and Sofia Ribeiro7
Paul C. Knutz et al.
  • 1GEUS, Marine Geology, Aarhus, Denmark (
  • 2Aarhus University, Department of Geoscience, Aarhus, Denmark
  • 3GEUS, Geophysics, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 4British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
  • 5Geological Survey of Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Canada
  • 6Alfred Wegener Institut, Geosciences and Geophysics, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 7GEUS, Glaciology and Climate, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 8Aarhus University, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus, Denmark
  • 9University of Colorado - Boulder, INSTAAR, Boulder, US
  • 10University of Copenhagen, Globe Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark

The Greenland ice sheet’s response to anthropogenic warming will have major consequences for global sea levels but its behavior and stability during past warm intervals is poorly known. To elucidate the long-term behavior of the Greenland ice sheet, high-resolution marine records in ice proximal settings are required. Here we report the first results of a study of a deep-water contourite system on the north-east slope Baffin Bay based on geophysical and shallow core data obtained during two marine expeditions in 2017 and 2019. The contourite drift is incised by channels extending from the slope that is build up by prograding ice stream deposits (Melville Bugt trough-mouth fan). As a result, the contourite system presents a complex architecture. While the mechanisms for deposition and erosion are not yet clear, it is likely that the drift accumulated as a result of interactions between a deep contour current and downslope transport of sediments, presumably of glacigenic origin and therefore constitutes an example of an intertwined contourite-turbidite system. A preliminary age-depth model of the trough-mouth fan evolution indicates that the contourite system began to form during the late Early Pleistocene, possibly around 1 million years ago. The contourite drift is a key target for IODP proposal 909, aimed at unravelling the late Cenozoic evolution of the northern Greenland ice sheet and associated changes in Arctic paleoclimate. Shallow sediment cores from this target area have been retrieved and will be analyzed to generate high-resolution multi-proxy records of ocean circulation and sea-surface conditions including sea ice and paleoproductivity for the late Quaternary-Holocene.

How to cite: Knutz, P. C., Andresen, K. J., Hopper, J. R., Perez, L. F., Campbell, C., Dorschel, B., Bennike, O., Detlef, H., Hansen, K. E., Jackson, R., Jennings, A., Larsen, N. K., Nørgaard-Pedersen, N., Pearce, C., Røy, H., and Ribeiro, S.: A contourite drift succession in north-east Baffin Bay: a high-resolution Pleistocene archive of Greenland ice sheet and ocean variability, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-19301,, 2020

This abstract will not be presented.