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Characteristics of aeolian and niveo-aeolian deposits in central Spitsbergen (Ebba valley)

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During the period between summer 2010 and summer 2013 measurements of aeolian accumulation and transportation were conducted. Studies were realised in Ebba valley (central Spitsbergen). For this part of Svalbard archipelago dry polar climate type is distinctive. Aeolian deposits samples were collected from the ground surface, pits made in the niveo-aeolian and aeolian covers and from the sediment collectors localised throughout the valley. Standard labor-atory analyses of grain size distribution were realised, showing inter alia the domination of 0.125 mm fraction within the deposited material. Average wind velocities for summer periods amounted to 4 m/s, with wind gusts exceeding 20 m/s. Winds from the south-west dominate. It merely confirms earlier findings stating that there are no permanent conditions extorting to aeolian activity during summer in the analyzed area. Wind reaches velocities greater than 5 m/s only temporally and moderately well sorted fine sands are mainly transported. It is interesting that the biggest amount of aeolian material is not transported from the south-west but from the north (38%), northeast (28%) and northwest (18%), so from the direction where strongest winds were observed. There is still lack of a clear and quantitative data defining the role of niv-eo-aeolian and aeolian accumulation in the periglacial zone modelling, especially in more dry polar climate variant.
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Characteristics of aeolian and niveo-aeolian deposits
in central Spitsbergen (Ebba valley)
Krzysztof Rymer, Institute of Geoecology and Geoinformation, Adam Mickiewicz University
ul. Dzięgielowa 27, 61-680 Poznań, POLAND
e-mail: krym@amu.edu.pl
Objective
Studies of aeolian processes have a long history, but
there are still some issues that have not been fully resolved
yet. Provided for this scientific investigation tasks are
designed to verify hypotheses concerning the role of niveo-
aeolian and aeolian processes in periglacial environment.
In this presentation attention is focused on the
accumulation of the wind transported material.
Researches conducted since 2010 should answer
following detailed and important research questions:
1. What is the overall rate of the sediments accumulated by
wind activity in periglacial environment during one year?
2. How different climatic and local factors can affect the
niveo-aeolian and aeolian accumulation?
3. What is the degradation and aggradation rate of the
existing niveo-aeolian and aeolian covers and features in
areas characterized by dry polar climate variant?
4. What is the possible origin of accumulated sediments
and how wind transportation affects its components
(grains)?
In this particular region observations and
measurements of the transportation, accumulation and
erosion of aeolian material were preliminarily performed
during summer seasons 2002 (Paluszkiewicz 2003) and
2005 (Górska-Zabielska 2007).
Study area
Ebba valley is located in central Spitsbergen, the
largest island of Svalbard archipelago and is
perpendicular to the eastern coast of Petunia Bay (fig. 1.).
The analyzed area is characterized by relatively large
variety of sediments and landforms. Typical for the mouth
section of the Ebba valley are raised marine terraces
mainly built of sands and gravels. Landforms of
glacial origin are dominating. Modern ground surface is
remodeled by fluvioglacial processes (Kłysz et al. 1989).
The mean annual temperature in the region is about
-6.5°C (Rachlewicz and Szczuciński 2008). The period
with temperatures above 0°C begins in mid-May or early
June and usually lasts until early September (Rachlewicz
2003; Rachlewicz and Styszyńska 2007).
In relation to the other areas of Spitsbergen, the
values of annual precipitation are relatively low (less than
200 mm per year). Snow cover is usually not thick
(Przybylak et al. 2006).
There is a dominance of southern and north-eastern
winds. However, maximum wind speed gusts were
observed from the east, north and north-west (Rachlewicz
2003).
Location of measuring points
Methods
Measurements of aeolian
accumulation during summer
Except other tested catchers
(eg. directional traps) mostly
modified MDCO (marble dust
collector) were used (fig. 2. A).
Originally they consists of a
plastic tray with two layers of
glass marbles (Goossens, Offer
1995, 2000). In this research the
glass marbles were replaced by
beach coarse material (sieved
and washed as so it does not
contain any aeolian material).
Internal diameter of the tray
amounted 210 mm. Hall and
Upton (1988) determine the
overall collection of the catcher
for 50%, what is “superior to any
of the other designs examined”.
In the period between July and
September (years 2012 and
2013) measurements of the
aeolian accumulation were
conducted on nine research sites
(fig. 1. and fig. 2. B - J).
Laboratory analyses of
collected material
Grain size composition was
established on the basis of the
standard dry-sieve method
(Mycielska-Dowgiałło 1980).
Fig. 2. Traps used for aeolian accumulation measurements in different sites in
the Ebba valley 2012-2013.
Conclusions
Preliminary results of the research in Ebba valley show
that:
- average wind velocities for summer periods amounted to
4 m/s, with wind gusts exceeding 20 m/s, wind reaches
morphologically effective velocities (greater than 5 m/s)
only temporally (fig. 3.),
- winds from the south-west dominate,
- the biggest amount of aeolian material is not transported
from the south-west but from the north (38%), northeast
(28%) and northwest (18%), so from the direction where
strongest winds were observed,
- moderately well sorted fine sands are mainly transported
and there is a domination of 0.125 mm (3 Φ) fraction within
the deposited material (fig. 5.),
- aeolian accumulation rates during the summer periods
(July - September) 2012 - 2013 vary (depending mostly on
morphological and vegetation cover situation) from 3 to
847 g/m2 (fig. 4.),
- analysis of the snow cover indicate the importance of
autumn periods, when dried up material is more
susceptible for wind transportation (fig. 6.).
Results
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Fig. 1. Location of Ebba valley and aeolian accumulation measuring points.
MZ = 2,70 2,75
σ1 = 0,57 0,58
Sk1 = -0,18 -0,22
KG = 0,90 0,95
[%]
[ϕ]
Fig. 5. Grain size distribution of the wind transported material.
Fig. 4. Aeolian accumulation in Ebba valley in summer 2012 and 2013 (g/m2).
Fig. 6. A - Patches of the niveoaeolian material in the valley. B - Difference in
the amount of material contained in the snow cover in autumn and winter.
A B
6-7
3
185-290
449
271-296
544-847 168-348
97-354
123-139
Fig. 3. Typical summer daily average wind velocities in Ebba valley.
Meteorological measurements
Standard measurements were
done with use of automatic
weather stations (HOBO, DAVIS).
A
B - frontal moraine of Ebba glacier without vegetation
cover
C - sandur area of Ebba river without vegetation
D - solifluction slope with low vegetation in central part
of the valley
E - NE slope of the highest raised marine terrace (30 m
above sea level)
F - NW slope of the highest raised marine terrace (30 m
above sea level)
G - top of the highest raised marine terrace (30 m
above sea level) H - SE slope of the highest raised marine terrace (30 m
above sea level)
I - wet tundra surface (raised marine terrace 2-3 m
above sea level) J - dry tundra surface (raised marine terrace 5-7 m
above sea level)
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Rekonstrukcja dynamiki i procesów geomorfologicznych – formy rzeźby i osady
  • Górska-Zabielska M Formy Eoliczne Na Przedpolu Lodowca Ebba
  • Środkowy Spitsbergen
GÓRSKA-ZABIELSKA M., 2007: Formy eoliczne na przedpolu lodowca Ebba, środkowy Spitsbergen. [in:] Smolska E., Giriat D. (eds.), Rekonstrukcja dynamiki i procesów geomorfologicznych – formy rzeźby i osady. Uniwersytet Warszawski, Wydział Geografii i Studiów Regionalnych, Komitet Badań Czwartorzędu Polskiej Akademii Nauk, 199-204.
Wstęp do sedymentologii (dla geografów). Wyższa Szkoła Pedagogiczna im
  • Mycielska-Dowgiałło E
MYCIELSKA-DOWGIAŁŁO E., 1980: Wstęp do sedymentologii (dla geografów). Wyższa Szkoła Pedagogiczna im. Jana Kochanowskiego, Kielce.
Porównanie przebiegu temperatury powietrza w Petuniabukta i Svalbard-Lufthavn (Isfjord, Spitsbergen) w latach
  • G Rachlewicz
  • Styszyńska A
RACHLEWICZ G., STYSZYŃSKA A., 2007: Porównanie przebiegu temperatury powietrza w Petuniabukta i Svalbard-Lufthavn (Isfjord, Spitsbergen) w latach 2001-2003. Problemy Klimatologii Polarnej, 17, 121-134.
Formy eoliczne na przedpolu lodowca Ebba, środkowy Spitsbergen
  • Górska-Zabielska M
GÓRSKA-ZABIELSKA M., 2007: Formy eoliczne na przedpolu lodowca Ebba, środkowy Spitsbergen. [in:] Smolska E., Giriat D. (eds.), Rekonstrukcja dynamiki i procesów geomorfologicznych -formy rzeźby i osady. Uniwersytet Warszawski, Wydział Geografii i Studiów Regionalnych, Komitet Badań Czwartorzędu Polskiej Akademii Nauk, 199-204.