Sediments on high Arctic shelves result from modern processes and the effect of former glaciations. Based on data from the northern Barents Sea, an area with input from large and numerous surging glaciers, we define two principal zones with different environmental regimes and corresponding sedimentary facies: (1) a glacier-proximal zone influenced by grounding-line processes and the immediately adjacent areas affected by glacial sediment input, and (2) a glacier-distal, sea-ice and current-controlled zone, which also includes a wide sediment-starved region dominated by biogenic carbonate accumulation. Characteristic of the glacier-proximal zone are glacial surges which affect sedimentation rates and leave a diagnostic pattern of sea-floor morphologies. Extensive ice gouging causes a homogeneous sediment texture. In the glacier-distal zone, fine-grained mud supplied from sea ice and infrequent coarser material deposited from icebergs is reworked by modern oceanographic processes. On shallow banks, in 30-50 m of water, carbonates accumulate from a prolific bottom fauna formed in response to extensive reworking and nutrient supply.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology