Ice-gouged microrelief on the floor of the eastern Chukchi Sea, Alaska: a reconnaissance survey

Open-File Report 78-693




Side-scan sonar and bathymetric records obtained from 1,800 km of trackline from the eastern Chukchi Sea continental shelf, between water depths of 20 and 70 m show the ubiquitous presence of furrow-like linear depressions produced by gouging of the sea bed by ice keels. These sea bed micro-features are regionally widespread but are not uniformly distributed. Furthermore, the microrelief, texture, and lithologic structure of sea bed sediments have been significantly modified by the disruptive processes associated with ice gouge formation. An analysis of some 10,.200 individual gouges shows that the density of ice gouges increases with increasing latitude, increasing slope gradients, and decreasing water depth. Across the northern half of the shelf few trackline segments are free of ice gouges; in the southern portion numerous segments contain no ice gouges. However, ice gouges extend at least as far south as Cape Prince of Wales Shoal. Densities of over 200 gouges per km of trackline are not uncommon in water depths less than 30 m ,but no values higher than 50 km are encountered in water deeper than 50 m. No ice gouges have been observed in water depths exceeding 58 m. Saturation ice gouge densities (greater than 300/Pan) occur along the eastern side 6f Barrow Sea Valley and the northeast flank of Hanna Shoal. Maximum gouge incision depths per km of trackline are greatest in water 36 to 50 m deep . A maximum incision depth of 4.5 m occurs in the 35-40 m water depth interval. Individual ice gouge events wider than 100 m, most produced by multi-keeled ice fragments, are found between 31 and 45 m depths. The dominant azimuth of gouge furrows shows no preferred orientation on the Chukchi Sea shelf; only locally does bathmetric control of the trend of gouges appear. The occurrence of current-produced bedforms within individual ice gouges suggests an interaction between slow-moving grounded or gouging ice keels and swift currents. In other cases, current-produced bedforms, interpreted as being in equilibrium with existing flow regimes, lie adjacent to ice gouges, suggesting contemporary ice gouging to water depths of at least 43 m.

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Ice-gouged microrelief on the floor of the eastern Chukchi Sea, Alaska: a reconnaissance survey
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
44, [68] leaves :ill., maps ;28 cm.; (113 p. - PGS)