Lake-Level Control on Ice-Margin Subaqueous Fans, Glacial Lake Rinteln, Northwest Germany

  1. Michael J. Hambrey2,
  2. Poul Christoffersen2,3,
  3. Neil F. Glasser2 and
  4. Bryn Hubbard2
  1. Jutta Winsemann,
  2. Ulrich Asprion and
  3. Thomas Meyer

Published Online: 24 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304435.ch9

Glacial Sedimentary Processes and Products

Glacial Sedimentary Processes and Products

How to Cite

Winsemann, J., Asprion, U. and Meyer, T. (2007) Lake-Level Control on Ice-Margin Subaqueous Fans, Glacial Lake Rinteln, Northwest Germany, 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.ch9

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. Institut für Geologie, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Callinstraße 30, D-30167 Hannover, Germany

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



  • lake-level control on ice-margin subaqueous fans, glacial Lake Rinteln, Northwest Germany;
  • subaqueous ice-contact fans;
  • facies architecture;
  • stratigraphic record indicating retreat of active ice, due to calving;
  • subaqueous fan sedimentation;
  • sedimentary facies and facies associations;
  • Coppenbrügge subaqueous fan complex;
  • facies architecture and fan stacking patterns


During the maximum advance of the Early Saalian Scandinavian Ice Sheet ice-dammed lakes developed within valleys of the Northwest German Mountain ranges. The blocking of the River Weser valley led to the formation of glacial Lake Rinteln where most of the sediment was deposited by meltwater. Two subaqueous fan complexes have been identified, which formed lakeward of retreating ice-lobes during an overall lake-level rise. The sediment transport on the fans has been dominated by sustained gravity-flows, mainly cohesionless debris flows or high- and low-density turbidity currents, reflecting discharge of semi-continuous meltwater flows. Intercalations of surge-type high- and low-density turbidites increase towards the mid- and lower-fan slopes, indicating more ice-distal and periodic deposition. Individual fan bodies commonly have a coarse-grained proximal core of steeply dipping gravel, overlain by gently to steeply dipping mid- to outer fan deposits. During glacier retreat commonly fine-grained sediments, rich in ice-rafted debris, were deposited on the ice-distal and ice-proximal slopes of the abandoned fans. Climbing-ripple cross-laminated sand may onlap coarse-grained upper fan gravel and in some cases overtop the older fan deposits. Phases of glacier still-stands are characterised by fan systems that display an upward flattening of fan clinoforms and minor vertical facies changes. The position of ice marginal fans was controlled by the combination of bedrock topography and water depth. At the eastern lake margin topographic highs served as pinning points for the retreating glacier and facilitated ice margin stabilisation. A strong lake-level fall probably triggered a major drainage event that tapped previously unconnected reservoirs of englacial and subglacial meltwater.