Science and earth science

Polish Polar Research

Content

Polish Polar Research | 2018 | vol. 39 | No 1 |

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Abstract

Rock glaciers are lobate or tongue-shaped landforms which consist of rock debris and have either an ice core or an ice-cemented matrix. Characteristics such as the landscape setting, morphology, material and current geomorphological state are universally used to classify rock glaciers. In Antarctica, rock glaciers have only been surveyed on the Antarctic Peninsula, Ellsworth Mountains and in Victoria Land. This paper presents the first data on the identification and description of rock glaciers in the Jutulsessen nunataks, Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica. The rock glaciers in the Jutulsessen exhibit a variety of morphologies and states. Our data suggests that the rock glaciers in Brugdedalen and Jutuldalen are active, while the features at Vassdalen and Grjotlia are considered inactive, and a feature at Grjotøyra is considered relict. The described rock glaciers do not fit into existing classification systems and appear to be different to alpine, Arctic and Andean rock glaciers. They further present examples that fit both the ‘glaciogenic’ and ‘permafrost’ development theories.
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Authors and Affiliations

Elizabeth M. Rudolph
K. Ian Meiklejohn
Christel D. Hansen
David W. Hedding
Werner Nel
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Abstract

Antarctica is perceived as one of the most pristine environments on Earth, though increasing human activities and global climate change raise concerns about preserving the continent’s environmental quality. Limited in distribution, soils are particularly vulnerable to disturbances and pollution, yet lack of baseline studies limits our abilities to recognize and monitor adverse effects of environmental change. To improve the understanding of natural geochemical variability of soils, a survey was conducted in the fellfield environments of Edmonson Point (Victoria Land). Soil samples were analyzed for six major (Fe, Ca, Mg, Na, K and Ti) and 24 trace elements (As, Ba, Be, Bi, Cd, Co, Cr, Cs, Cu, Ga, Li, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Rb, Sn, Sr, Tl, U, V, Y, Zn and Zr). Relationships among element concentrations in the samples and local bedrock were analyzed to identify their origin and similarities in geochemical cycles. Element concentrations in the soils were highly variable but generally within the lowest values reported elsewhere in Antarctica. Though values of Cd, Mn, Ni and Zn were relatively high, they are consistent with those in the local soil-forming rocks indicating an origin from natural sources rather than anthropogenic contamination. Chemical composition of soils vs. rocks pointed to alkali basalts as the lithogenic source of the soil matrix, but also indicated considerable alteration of elemental composition in the soil. Considering local environmental settings, the soil elemental content was likely affected by marine-derived inputs and very active hydrological processes which enhanced leaching and removal of mobilized elements. Both of these processes may be of particular importance within the context of global climate change as the predicted increases in temperature, water availability and length of the summer season would favor mineral weathering and increase geochemical mobility of elements.
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Authors and Affiliations

Steven D. Emslie
Jerzy Smykla
Ewa Szarek-Gwiazda
Marek Drewnik
Wiesław Knap
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Abstract

A total number of 156 palaeomagnetic specimens of metacarbonates from 9 sites in Blomstrandhalvøya and Lovénøyane (Kongsfjorden, western Spitsbergen) and an additional 77 specimens of unmetamorphosed sediments infilling fractures (4 sites) within the Caledonian metamorphic basement of Blomstrandhalvøya were demagnetized. No relicts of pre-metamorphic magnetization were identified. The Natural Remanent Magnetization (NRM) pattern of metacarbonates is dominated by Caledonian (sensu lato) – Svalbardian and Late Mesozoic/Cenozoic secondary magnetic overprints carried by the pyrrhotite and magnetite/maghemite phases, respectively. The NRM of unmetamorphosed sediments infilling the karstic/tectonic fractures is dominated by hematite carrier. It revealed three stages of magnetization: Caledonian sensu lato, Carboniferous and Late Mesozoic/Cenozoic, which can be related to their initial fracturing, karstification and sedimentation or reactivation. As the majority of the palaeopoles calculated for the Kongsfjorden sites fit the 430 – 0 Ma sector of Laurussia reference path in an in situ orientation these results support the hypothesis that Blomstrandhalvøya and Lovénøyane escaped main Eurekan deformations. The potential rotation of the Kongsfjorden basement by any west dipping listric fault activity rotating the succession accompanying the opening of North Atlantic Ocean was not documented by the palaeomagnetic data presented here.
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Authors and Affiliations

Krzysztof Michalski
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Abstract

This paper reports on a morphometric analysis of land-terminating glaciers on southern and western Spitsbergen in the years 1936–2014. An attempt was made to estimate the deglaciation rate and the scale of its acceleration in the 21st century in the conditions of Arctic amplification. Satellite scenes and topographic map sheets were used for the study and were analyzed by means of remote sensing and GIS methods. The study covered 2000–2014 years and concluded that surface recession accelerated on average by a factor of 2.75 compared to the 1936–2000 period, while linear recession was 2.2 times faster. The greatest increase in the deglaciation rate can be observed in the case of glaciers faced to N and W sectors. The deglaciation process is the most advanced in the central part of the island, where small, compact mountain glaciers predominate. In recent years, a slowdown in the deglaciation processes in these glaciers was observed. The studies demonstrate that the deglaciation rate was mainly influenced by the basin relief determining the glacier geometry. The resultant fractal nature of the ice cover makes it highly vulnerable to the disintegration of complex glacial systems into smaller ones due to glacier thinning and the separation of outlets. The acceleration of the deglaciation rate in turn is modified by the climate factor, especially the impact of warming air masses from the N and W sectors where seas are becoming increasingly ice-free and, consequently, have an increasing heat capacity.
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Authors and Affiliations

Joanna Ewa Szafraniec
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Abstract

Geomorphological research based on geomorphological mapping seeks to identify the origins and age of forms as well as to describe the process that created or transformed a particular form. One of the most important aspects of this study is the morphometry and morphology of the landscape. This also applies to the submarine areas, and issues related to marine geomorphometry. Bathymetric data used in this study were obtained from the measurements of the Norwegian Hydrographic Service and measurements conducted by the authors. Its main goal was: to determine the bathymetry of the Recherchefjorden (Bellsund, Svalbard), establish morphometric parameters for the analysis of the morphology of the bottom. The boundaries of zones, related to the specific character of bottom geomorphology linked with geological structure, tectonics and, in particular, the impact of glacial system, was delineated. The sets of landforms (areas) were distinguished based on the morphometric analysis resulting from the determined parameters: slopes, its aspects, curvatures and Bathymetric Position Index. Basically, this areas are concentrated in two zones: the main Recherchefjorden and its surroundings. The delimitation also takes into account the origins and location of theme in relation to the glacial systems. On this basis, moraine areas were distinguished. They are linked with the Holocene advances of two glaciers, Renardbeen and Recherchebreen, mainly during the Little Ice Age. They constitute boundary zones between areas with different morphometric parameters: outer fjord and inner fjord. Moreover, taking into account geology and terrestrial geomorphology it was possible to describe paraglacial processes in this area.
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Authors and Affiliations

Mateusz Moskalik
Piotr Zagórski
Leszek Łęczyński
Joanna Ćwiąkała
Piotr Demczuk
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Abstract

In this study, atlases of wave characteristics and wave energy for the Barents Sea have been generated for the years from 1996 to 2015 based on ERA-Interim datasets from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). The wave power resources in the Barents Sea can be exploited with sea ice extent declining in recent years. The entire Barents Sea has been divided into multi-year sea ice zones, seasonal sea ice zones and open water zones according to the 20-year averaged sea ice concentration. In the entire domain, the spatial distributions of the annual averaged and mean monthly significant wave heights and wave energy flux are presented. For the open water zones, 15 points have been selected at different locations so as to derive and study the wave energy roses and the inter-annual wave power variation. Moreover, the correlations between the wave energy period and the significant wave height are shown in the energy and scatter diagrams. The maximum wave power occurs in the winter in the western parts of the Barents Sea with more than 60kW/m. The wave energy can therefore be exploited in the open water zones.
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Authors and Affiliations

Agnieszka Sulikowska
Wiesław Ziaja
Agnieszka Wypych
Krzysztof Mitka
Wojciech Maciejowski
Krzysztof Ostafin

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