Buried Ice

Glacier recession commonly results in the deposition and burial of ice within the landscape and in some cases can result in the stagnation of the glacier margin and the development of large areas of dead ice. The subsequent ablation of this ice can result in the formation of a range of distinctive features such as discrete kettle holes or more extensive areas of hummocky moraine. Within permafrost environments, the aggradation of permafrost accompanying glacier recession can cause the preservation of buried ice for millennia such that deglaciation of the landscape is incomplete. Recent work within the Canadian Northwest Territories has revealed the development and rapid expansion of megaslumps that result from the exposure and melt-out of buried ice in response to rapid climate change, with the resultant landscape destabilisation having potentially wide-ranging environmental and infrastructural impacts. Very little systematic research has been undertaken to identify the specific landsystem setting in which glacier ice can be buried and potentially persevered.

This project aims to locate, quantify and monitor buried ice within selected localities of Iceland and the Northwest Territories, paying specific attention the landsystem’s context within the glacial environment.