Glaciers

The Canadian High Arctic comprises the Queen Elizabeth Islands (QEIs), located north of Parry Channel (Fig. 19.1). Present-day ice cover ranges from large ice caps that feed outlet glaciers and piedmont lobes, to small plateau icefields. The smaller islands of the central and western QEIs are characterized by lowland topography, and glacier cover is restricted to scattered, small ice-masses. Subpolar glaciers of the QEIs are characterized by a frozen marginal zone that passes up-glacier into warm-based ice (Blatter, 1987; Skidmore & Sharp, 1999). Glaciers with a relatively highmass turnover and/or strong converging flow will contain the most extensive zones of warm-based ice. This thermal regime means that subpolar glaciers can be characterized by both subglacial and supraglacial/lateral meltwater systems, and by significant compressive stresses where the zone of warm-based ice passes into the frozen bed at the margin. These characteristics are critical for debris entrainment and transport and are reflected geomorphologically and sedimentologically in the subpolar glacier landsystem (Fig. 19.2).

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