Tracing the last remnants of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet: Ice-dammed lakes and a catastrophic outburst flood in northern Sweden
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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We present geomorphological evidence of large, previously undocumented, early Holocene ice-dammed lakes in the Scandinavian Mountains of northwestern Sweden. The lakes extents indicate that the last remnants of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet were located east of the mountain range. Some early pioneering works have presented similar reconstructions, whereas more recently published reconstructions place the last ice remnants in the high mountains of Sarek. Using high-resolution airborne LiDAR data we have mapped a large number of hitherto undocumented shorelines in some of the main valleys within the northern Scandinavian mountain range. Our results indicate that a larger system of ice-dammed lakes existed in this region than previously thought. The lakes were dammed between the main water divide to the west and the retreating ice sheet margin to the east. The shorelines dip towards the northwest with gradients ranging from 0.5 to 0.4 m/km, from the oldest to the youngest. Further, we have compiled Lateglacial and Holocene shoreline data along the Norwegian coast and from within the Baltic Sea basin and reconstructed the isostatic uplift along a 1400 km long northwest-southeast transect from the Norwegian Sea to Lake Ladoga. By comparing the measured ice-dammed lake shoreline gradients to the dated marine shorelines, we infer that the lakes may have existed for several centuries following 10.2 cal ka BP. We also describe large deposits and extensive erosive features, which demonstrate that a catastrophic glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) took place eastward along the Pite River Valley. Based on cross-cutting relations to raised shorelines developed in the early Holocene Ancylus Lake (Baltic Sea basin) we conclude that the flood and thus the final phase of deglaciation took place within the time interval 10.3–9.9 cal ka BP.