A model for interaction between conduits and surrounding hydraulically connected distributed drainage based on geomorphological evidence from Keewatin, Canada

Lewington, Emma L. M.; Livingstone, Stephen J.; Clark, Chris D.; Sole, Andrew J.; Storrar, Robert D.

We identify and map visible traces of subglacial meltwater drainage around the former Keewatin Ice Divide, Canada, from high-resolution Arctic Digital Elevation Model (ArcticDEM) data. We find similarities in the characteristics and spatial locations of landforms traditionally treated separately (i.e. meltwater channels, meltwater tracks and eskers) and propose that creating an integrated map of meltwater routes captures a more holistic picture of the large-scale drainage in this area. We propose the grouping of meltwater channels and meltwater tracks under the term meltwater corridor and suggest that these features in the order of 10s–100s m wide, commonly surrounding eskers and transitioning along flow between different types, represent the interaction between a central conduit (the esker) and surrounding hydraulically connected distributed drainage system (the meltwater corridor). Our proposed model is based on contemporary observations and modelling which suggest that connections between conduits and the surrounding distributed drainage system within the ablation zone occur as a result of overpressurisation of the conduit. The widespread aerial coverage of meltwater corridors (5 %–36 % of the bed) provides constraints on the extent of basal uncoupling induced by basal water pressure fluctuations. Geomorphic work resulting from repeated connection to the surrounding hydraulically connected distributed drainage system suggests that basal sediment can be widely accessed and evacuated by meltwater.

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Lewington, Emma L. M. / Livingstone, Stephen J. / Clark, Chris D. / et al: A model for interaction between conduits and surrounding hydraulically connected distributed drainage based on geomorphological evidence from Keewatin, Canada. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Emma L. M. Lewington et al.

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