Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Fall 5-12-2010

Major Department or Program

Geology - Environmental Studies


Robert J. Carson; Nicholas E. Bader


Arctic tidewater glaciers are likely to respond rapidly to changes in climate, due to a variety of climate forcing mechanisms. This study is designed to assess how these glaciers are now responding to these changes. We collected marine sediment samplesnear Kronebreen/Kongsvegan, a polythermal subpolar tidewater glacier in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard, over the summer melt season of 2009. CTD/OBS and meteorological data were also collected to characterize this dynamic Arctic system. One-to-three-day modern sediment records were collected near the top, the middle, and the bottom of the fjord water column with mooring locations ranging in depth from 20 to 120 m below sea level. Accumulation rates from the bottommost sediment traps of 380, 220, and 160 kg/m2/yr were found at 0.45, 0.75, and 1.00 km, respectively, from theice-marginal delta on the southern edge of Kronebreen/Kongsvegan. Sedimentationrates appear to decrease logarithmically away from the ice-marginal delta. Couplets of coarse and _ne sediment were found in sediment traps from the meltwater sediment plume indicating a diurnal meltwater discharge pattern. The couplets may be due more to solar incidence than to temperature and precipitation. Tidal current velocity may play a role in differerentiating coarse and ne particles as they are released from the meltwater sediment plume, but there is not sufficient evidence to test for this fully.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Sedimentology, Glaciers -- Norwary -- Spitsbergen Island, Glaciers -- Research, Climatic changes, Svalbard (Norway) -- Geography, Sedimentation and deposition -- Norway -- Spitsbergen Island, Meltwater -- Analysis, Kings Bay (Norway), Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2010 -- Geology-Environmental Studies

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Document Type

Whitman Community Accessible Thesis

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