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Glacial Steady State Topography Controlled by the Coupled Influence of Tectonics and Climate
AuthorPrasicek, Günther ; Herman, Frédéric ; Robl, Jörg ; Braun, Jean
Published in
Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, Washington, DC, 2018, Vol. 123, page 1344-1362
PublishedWashington, DC : American Geophysical Union, 2018
Document typeJournal Article
Keywords (EN)glacial equilibrium / steady state topography / glacial erosion / glacial buzzsaw / rock upliftrelief scaling / scaling relation
Project-/ReportnumberJ 3976 N-29
URNurn:nbn:at:at-ubs:3-11599 Persistent Identifier (URN)
 The work is publicly available
Glacial Steady State Topography Controlled by the Coupled Influence of Tectonics and Climate [1.78 mb]
Abstract (English)

Glaciers and rivers are the main agents of mountain erosion. While in the fluvial realm empirical relationships and their mathematical description, such as the stream power law, improved the understanding of fundamental controls on landscape evolution, simple constraints on glacial topography and governing scaling relations are widely lacking. We present a steady state solution for longitudinal profiles along eroding glaciers in a coupled system that includes tectonics and climate. We combined the shallow ice approximation and a glacial erosion rule to calculate ice surface and bed topography from prescribed glacier mass balance gradient and rock uplift rate. Our approach is inspired by the classic application of the stream power law for describing a fluvial steady state but with the striking difference that, in the glacial realm, glacier mass balance is added as an altitudedependent variable. From our analyses we find that ice surface slope and glacial relief scale with uplift rate with scaling exponents indicating that glacial relief is less sensitive to uplift rate than relief in most fluvial landscapes. Basic scaling relations controlled by either basal sliding or internal deformation follow a power law with the exponent depending on the exponents for the glacial erosion rule and Glen's flow law. In a mixed scenario of sliding and deformation, complicated scaling relations with variable exponents emerge. Furthermore, a cutoff in glacier mass balance or cold ice in high elevations can lead to substantially larger scaling exponents which may provide an explanation for high relief in high latitudes.

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