Geomorphological consequences of glacier advance across a paraglacial rock avalanche deposit

Simon Cook, Philip Porter, Charles A Bendall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
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Glacial reworking of paraglacial rock slope sediment has been inferred from long-deglaciated terrains to contribute significantly to glacial sediment transfer. At Feegletscher, Switzerland, we provide the first description of the geomorphological consequences of glacier advance across paraglacial rock avalanche sediment. This produced a small arcuate end moraine that encloses a zone of hummocky debris. The sedimentology of these landforms is conditioned by rock avalanche sediment and can be differentiated from purely glacial sediments, indicating that the contribution of glacially reworked rock avalanche debris may be recognisable in deglaciated terrain. Remarkably, much of the overridden rock avalanche debris has maintained its angularity and delicate brecciation features, despite up to 40 years of glacial action. We suggest that the surface ‘carapace facies’ of the rock avalanche deposit, comprising large openwork blocks, limited the effectiveness of glacial erosion processes. The carapace facies will have resisted significant erosion by the relatively thin glacier because of its high shear strength and because it was able to transmit subglacial meltwater efficiently. Thus, enhanced debris transfer associated with reworking of paraglacial rock avalanche sediment should not necessarily be expected during the initial stages of glacier advance
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-120
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


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