A Brief Review on Modeling Sediment Erosion, Transport and Deposition by Former Large Ice Sheets

  1. Michael J. Hambrey2,
  2. Poul Christoffersen2,3,
  3. Neil F. Glasser2 and
  4. Bryn Hubbard2
  1. Martin J. Siegert

Published Online: 24 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304435.ch5

Glacial Sedimentary Processes and Products

Glacial Sedimentary Processes and Products

How to Cite

Siegert, M. J. (2007) A Brief Review on Modeling Sediment Erosion, Transport and Deposition by Former Large Ice Sheets, in Glacial Sedimentary Processes and Products (eds M. J. Hambrey, P. Christoffersen, N. F. Glasser and B. Hubbard), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304435.ch5

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Centre for Glaciology, Institute of Geography & Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Wales, Ceredigion SY23 3DB, UK

  2. 3

    Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge, CB2 1ER, UK

Author Information

  1. School of GeoSciences, Grant Institute, University of Edinburgh, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JW, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 14 DEC 2007

Book Series:

  1. Special Publication Number 39 of the International Association of Sedimentologists

Book Series Editors:

  1. Isabel Montanez

Series Editor Information

  1. University of California, Davis, USA

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405183000

Online ISBN: 9781444304435



  • review on modelling sediment erosion, transport and deposition by former large ice sheets;
  • numerical ice sheet models - predicting size and dynamics of former ice sheets;
  • glaciers and ice sheets – recognized as important agents of erosion and deposition;
  • background to sediment modelling in ice sheets;
  • Eurasian ice sheet;
  • modelling subglacial sediments;
  • formation of Antarctic ice sheet – representing key episode in climate history of Earth;
  • Laurentide ice sheet;
  • modelling sedimentological consequences of unstable ice flow


Although numerical ice sheet models have been used often to predict the size and dynamics of former ice sheets, few exercises have utilised the geological record to fully constrain model output. Geological evidence can be used to build detailed hypotheses regarding ice sheet and climate history, which can be tested by computer models provided ice flow is coupled to sediment erosion, transport and deposition. Here three examples of how geological data have been used in conjunction with coupled ice-sheet/sediment modelling to comprehend large-scale glacial history are discussed. The first describes how numerical reconstructions of the late glacial Eurasian Ice Sheet have benefited from marine geophysical surveys quantifying sediment fans along the former ice margin. The second reviews how models have been used to determine the likely accumulations of sediments from the initiation and growth of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The third discusses developments in modelling techniques that allow detailed predictions of sediment deposits and their evolution through time. In addition, a note is provided on how modelling can be used to provide process information concerning former ice sheet instabilities, which can lead to marine sedimentary records such as Heinrich layers.