A Decade of Sedimentation in Ice-contact, Proglacial Lakes, Bering Glacier, AK.

TitleA Decade of Sedimentation in Ice-contact, Proglacial Lakes, Bering Glacier, AK.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsFleisher, PJ, Bailey, PK, Cadwell, DH
JournalSedimentary Geology
KeywordsIce-contact lake sedimentation; Bathymetry; Sediment flux

Bathymetric surveys during the 1991–2000 decade in two ice-contact, proglacial lakes on the eastern sector of Bering piedmont lobe captured the buildup effects of the 1993–1995 surge. Following ice-front advance of 1.0–1.5 km into Tsivat and Tsiu Lakes, the basins were significantly altered by surge-related sedimentation including the impact of a subglacial outburst into Tsivat Lake. The subsequent changes in basin shape, size, and morphology were monitored by six bathymetric surveys. Measured changes in water depth serve as a proxy for determining increments of sediment accumulation.

Upwelling, ice-front vents fed by subglacial tunnels transported suspended fine sediment directly into the lake system. The rate of suspension settling within both lakes varied from 0.6 to 1.2 m year−1 prior to the surge. Suspended load during surge years increased sixfold from 1.7 to 13.9 g l−1, accompanied by increased sediment accumulation of 2.2–3.1 m year−1. Vent-related aggradation and subsequent filling of Tsivat Lake caused sediment bypassing to Tsiu Lake, where encroachment by delta growth contributed to a postsurge rate of bottomset accumulation of 3.0 m year−1.

The total sediment influx from subglacial sources is represented by the sum of bathymetrically determined accumulation, plus an estimated volume of sediment that remained suspended, thus passing through the lake system. Total sediment flux along the eastern Bering piedmont lobe from 1991 to 2000 is approximately 227 million cubic meters.