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Glaciers and the Morphology and Structure of Milne Ice Shelf, Ellesmere Island, N.W.T., Canada

Martin O. Jeffries
Arctic and Alpine Research
Vol. 18, No. 4 (Nov., 1986), pp. 397-405
DOI: 10.2307/1551089
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1551089
Page Count: 10
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Glaciers and the Morphology and Structure of Milne Ice Shelf, Ellesmere Island, N.W.T., Canada
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Abstract

Milne Ice Shelf has an area of about 290 km2 and an undulating topography of ridges and troughs (rolls) that is characteristic of arctic ice shelves. The geometry (wavelength, depth, and orientation) of the rolls varies considerably across the ice shelf and this is the basis for the division of the ice shelf into an outer unit, central unit, and inner unit. The units also correspond to thickness variations. The central unit is up to 100 m thick and there is an extensive series of moraines in which material is commonly found in conical mounds on the ice surface. The evidence from roll geometry, surface features, and ice thickness strongly suggests that much of central and outer Milne Ice Shelf consists of relic glacier tongues. The thinnest ice and greatest roll disorientation occurs in the inner unit. The latter might be explained by the periodic surging of Milne Glacier that restricts the linear development of the rolls. Although a landfast sea-ice cover perhaps existed in Milne Fiord ca. 4200 to 4100 BP, it was soon displaced by the glacier tongues that survive to this day. Glacier tongues have been found in ice island ARLIS II, and they have also been observed in Alfred Ernest Ice Shelf. This indicates that arctic ice shelves commonly grow as a result of the flow of glacier tongues in addition to in situ growth due to snow and ice accumulation on landfast sea ice.

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