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Glaciofluvial canyons and their relation to the Late Weichselian deglaciaton in Fennoscandia

Journal article
Authors Mats Olvmo
Published in Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie
Volume 36
Issue 3
Pages 343-363
ISSN 0372-8854
Publication year 1992
Published at Naturgeografiska institutionen
Pages 343-363
Language en
Subject categories Physical Geography


The paper describes and discusses the origin of young canyons in Sweden known as "kurs", "skura" and "grav". The study revealed a concentration of canyons in three main areas in Sweden, the northestern, the southeastern and the west-central parts. On the basis of detailed maps and field investigations of certain key areas, the majority of the canyons were interpreted, according to their strong connection to glaciofluvial deposits and other glaciofluvial landforms, as well as to the morphology of the canyons themselves, as being glaciofluvial formations. based on the morphological characteristics of the canyons and their related glaciofluvial deposits, it was concluded that they were basically formed by subaerial meltwater streams which flowed marginally along the ice margin, inframarginally in open crevasses or extramarginally outside the ice margin. It was also suggested that some canyons were formed by supraglacial streams which were superimposed on the ground. One of the canyons studied was, at least partly, formed by sublacial meltwater erosion. The subaerial nature of the glaciofluvial stream indicated by the morphological analyses has been tentatively proposed as revealing cold ice, or cold-based ice, in the marginal zone. As a consequence, it was suggested that the distribution pattern correspond to areas having cold based conditions during the Late Weichselian deglaciation. The significance of subaerial conditions in the ice-marginal zone was pointed out. It was suggested that glaciofluvial erosion in the subaerial, ice-marginal environment is facilitatated by preparative frost weathering before and during runoff. This process may explain the effective bedrock erosion documented by the canyons.

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