Ice keel seabed features in marine channels of the central Canadian Arctic Archipelago: evidence for former ice streams and iceberg scouring


The study area lies within the central part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago; a region that was covered by the Laurentide Ice Sheet during the Late Wisconsinan glaciation and earlier. Multibeam imagery from widely spaced transects indicates the presence of linear groove and ridge features on the seabed at several localities in Peel Sound, Franklin Strait, northern Larsen Sound, and within M’Clintock Channel. These lineations resemble features in Antarctica and in several formerly glaciated regions that have been interpreted to be sole marks emplaced beneath fast-flowing ice streams. Based on these analogies, a similar origin is inferred for the lineations on the channel floors within the study area The lineations are oriented parallel to the channel axes and margins. They occur on all transects within the bathymetrically deeper area at the junction of Franklin Strait and Peel Sound. Northward in Peel Sound they occur extensively on the western and central transects, and more locally on the eastern transect. Their north-south orientation is normal to that of glacial flow features on Somerset Island and most of eastern Prince of Wales Island, which border Peel Sound to the east and west, respectively. The trend of the lineations is northeasterly (parallel to the channel axis) in Franklin Strait and mainly northerly in Larsen Sound and M’Clintock Channel. Elsewhere, the seabed imagery commonly displays scours of various sizes and orientations created by the keels of icebergs. Seabed sediments revealed by 3.5 kHz sub-bottom profiles are interpreted to consist primarily of ice-contact sediments, that in part are thinly mantled by draped water lain sediments. The age of the lineations has not been established. Possibly their formation was coincident with an ice stream in the M’Clintock Channel – eastern Victoria Island region, which formed an ice shelf in Viscount Melville Sound that grounded on southern Melville and Byam Martin islands at ca. 10.4–9.6 14C ka BP Alternatively, they could result from later glacial events.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

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Quaternary Science Reviews



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