Factors Controlling Downward Fluxes of Particulate Matter in Glacier-Contact and Non-Glacier Contact Settings in a Subpolar Fjord (Billefjorden, Svalbard)

  1. Michael Z. Li3,
  2. Christopher R. Sherwood4 and
  3. Philip R. Hill5
  1. Witold Szczuciński1 and
  2. Marek Zajączkowski2

Published Online: 3 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118311172.ch18

Sediments, Morphology and Sedimentary Processes on Continental Shelves: Advances in Technologies, Research, and Applications

Sediments, Morphology and Sedimentary Processes on Continental Shelves: Advances in Technologies, Research, and Applications

How to Cite

Szczuciński, W. and Zajączkowski, M. (2012) Factors Controlling Downward Fluxes of Particulate Matter in Glacier-Contact and Non-Glacier Contact Settings in a Subpolar Fjord (Billefjorden, Svalbard), in Sediments, Morphology and Sedimentary Processes on Continental Shelves: Advances in Technologies, Research, and Applications (eds M. Z. Li, C. R. Sherwood and P. R. Hill), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, West Sussex, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118311172.ch18

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic), Natural Resources Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, B2Y 4A2 Canada

  2. 4

    U. S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole, MA 02543-1598 USA

  3. 5

    Natural Resources Canada, Sidney, BC, Canada V8L 4B2

Author Information

  1. 1

    Institute of Geology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Maków Polnych 16, 61-606 Poznań, Poland

  2. 2

    Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Powstańców Warszawy 55, 81-712 Sopot, Poland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 JAN 2013
  2. Published Print: 26 JAN 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444350821

Online ISBN: 9781118311172

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Keywords:

  • glaciomarine sedimentation;
  • glacier-contact and non-glacier contact settings;
  • particulate matter flux;
  • sediment traps;
  • fjord;
  • Svalbard

Summary

Sedimentation from suspensions was quantified, and its primary controls were investigated in Billefjorden, a subpolar fjord in Svalbard. Measurements of fjord hydrology, suspended particulate matter concentration, vertical downward flux of particulate matter, and distribution of grain size in material collected in sediment traps were conducted in the summer and autumn. Measurements were performed in two settings: glacier-contact and non-glacier contact. The first, Adolfbukta, is a bay with a large tidewater glacier and the second, Petuniabukta, is an inlet supplied by meltwater rivers that cross the tidal flat. The vertical particulate matter fluxes in both settings are as high as several thousand g m-2 day-1 during the short summer season and tens of g m-2 day-1 in the autumn. Sedimentation is dominated by settling from surface turbid water plumes and is largely the result of flocculation. This results in poorly sorted sediments, most of which are trapped either within a few hundred metres proximal to the meltwater inlet in the case of rivers ending on tidal flats, since flocculation occurs on the tidal flat; or within the first few km in the case of tidewater glaciers, where flocculation occurs after the sediments reach fjord waters. In the autumn, the fluxes diminish more than the concentration of suspended particulate matter, and the residence time of the suspended matter in the water lengthens. The major factors controlling particulate matter flux are the positions of freshwater inlets (surface/subsurface), meltwater discharge, suspended matter concentration in meltwater rivers, local wind damming effects, and tidal range (enhanced fluxes during spring tides). In the waters near the fjord bottom, the fluxes are usually higher due to resuspension and possibly turbidity currents or slumps.