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Friday Field Foto #116: Glacial outwash braidplain delta

July 9, 2010

This week’s Friday Field Foto is from a trip I took to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard in June 2009.

Glacial outwash braidplain delta, Svalbard (© 2010

(Click on the image to see a bigger and less fuzzy version)

There are virtually no roads on this group of islands, which means you need to hop on a small plane to get to other areas. This is a dream come true for those fascinated by this landscape. The photo above shows a beautiful braidplain delta building out into a fjord. Note how wave action has sculpted the tip of the delta. Also note the accumulation of sea ice to the left.

Happy Friday!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2010 7:45 am

    Hi Brian.

    I flew over Siberia not to long ago on a geological/tourist trip to China. The 2 main things I noticed of this vast country were:

    1. It is vast
    2. The river channels form tight, winding channels much more than other parts of the world.

    It is this last point that made me realise the seemingly obvious point, that the ground is gripped by permafrost, which makes erosion a much slower process. The number of ox-bow lakes I saw was quite staggering, and haven’t seen anything like this number in other, more temperate parts of the world.

    I can see the same type of mass tightly-braided channels here.

    A splendid photo.

  2. July 9, 2010 9:36 am

    A wonderful photograph! The wave-sculpted tip is a treat in itself. Reminds me of my all-too-brief visit to Svalbard last year.

  3. July 9, 2010 9:44 am

    Very cool. Reduce the topographic relief just a bit, and you have a good example of the lower Chippewa River in western Wisconsin.

  4. July 10, 2010 5:53 pm

    Is ice action a significant factor in the morphology of that delta?

  5. Katie permalink
    July 11, 2010 5:38 am

    Beautiful shot! I love the interplay of the different forces shaping that area.

    @Matt – I used that photo you posted in a surface processes class last semester and asked them to tell me what they saw….it took a while for them to see the braided pattern – but then they were AMAZED. It was a great exercise to get them thinking and actually observing!

  6. July 11, 2010 1:59 pm

    @Matt — wow, that image of braid bar “scars” is fascinating!

    @LabLemming — I don’t know, that’s a good question … in the winter the fjord is iced over so I’d guess it has some influence. I’ve never studied high-latitude systems in any detail. Anyone else know?

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