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The drumlin field and the geomorphology of the Múlajökull surge-type glacier, central Iceland

Journal article
Authors Sverrir Aðalsteinn Jónsson
Anders Schomacker
Ólafur Ingólfsson
Mark D. Johnson
Published in Geomorphology
Volume 207
Pages 213-220
ISSN 0169-555X
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 213-220
Language en
Keywords drumlin, Iceland, surging glacier
Subject categories Climate Research, Exogenous earth sciences, Quaternary geology, Sedimentology


Here we present a new geomorphological map of the active drumlin field and the forefield of Múlajökull, a surge-type outlet glacier, Iceland. The map is based on aerial photographs taken in 1995 and LiDAR data recorded in 2008. Mapping was done using ArcGIS 10 software on orthorectified imagery, LiDAR data and digital elevation models. The mapped landforms were initially identified on the aerial imagery and LiDAR and then ground-checked in the field. We mapped subglacial, supraglacial, ice-marginal, periglacial, and glaciofluvial landforms. The geomorphology of the Múlajökull forefield is similar to that of the forefields of other surge-type glaciers in Iceland: with a highly streamlined forefield, crevasse-fill ridges, and series of glaciotectonic end moraines. However, the large number (i.e., 110) of drumlins forming the drumlin field is unique for modern Icelandic surge-type glaciers and, as yet, unique for contemporary glaciers in general. Also apparent is that the drumlins are wider and shorter in the distal part of the drumlin field and narrower and longer in the proximal part. Hence, the mapping reveals a development of the drumlins toward a more streamlined shape of the proximal landforms that have experienced more surges. The drumlins in the drumlin field are active, i.e., they form during the modern surges of Múlajökull.

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