Channelized subglacial drainage under soft-bedded ice sheets: evidence from small N-channels in Central European Lowland

Jan A. Piotrowski

Abstract


Examples of small (m-scale) subglacial meltwater channels of Nye-type from central Europe coupled with the occurrence of large tunnel valleys suggest a significant role of non-distributed drainage system during major Pleistocene glaciations in this area. Hydraulic transmissivity of unconsolidated sediments overridden by the ice sheets was not sufficient to drain all basal meltwater as groundwater flow, so that the excess water volume was evacuated in hydraulically efficient channels incised into the bed, well preserved in the geological record. The channels are steep-sided, surrounded by undisturbed sediments and filled mainly with till, and they are bound by sharp, undulating erosional contacts. Their occurrence in sub-marginal areas of past ice sheets is consistent with the glaciological theory.


Keywords


central Europe; Pleistocene; subglacial channels; drainage systems; ice-bed processes

Full Text:

PDF