Iceland: Glacial landforms from the Younger Dryas Stadial

Ívar Örn Benediktsson, Skafti Brynjólfsson, Lovísa Ásbjörnsdóttir

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Iceland ice sheet (IIS) started to reexpand at the end of the Bølling–Allerød interstadial and the onset of the Younger Dryas (YD) due to climate deterioration and cooling of the marine environment associated with the southward migration of the Polar front and the shutdown of the Irminger Current. Increased glacial load related to the reexpansion of the IIS caused isostatic depression and transgression of relative sea level, resulting in widespread formation of well-preserved YD shorelines. These shorelines commonly occur at altitudes between ~30 and ~100m a.s.l. and are typically truncated within fjords to delimit the extent of outlet glaciers and ice streams. Recent studies suggest that the IIS margin experienced significant oscillations and was more dynamic during the YD than previously thought. This is particularly well demonstrated by a series of glaciotectonic end moraines in West Iceland and ice-lake strandlines in central North Iceland. A modified reconstruction of the IIS during the YD shows that it extended beyond the present coastline in many major fjords and was separated from an independent ice cap over the West Fjords. The YD age of the IIS margin is generally constrained with absolute ages from ice-marginal sediments and landforms, bedrock surfaces and erratics, as well as tephrochronology and stratigraphical and morphological correlations with features of Bølling–Allerød or Preboreal (Early Holocene) age.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Glacial Landscapes
Subtitle of host publicationThe Last Deglaciation
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780323918992
ISBN (Print)9780323985116
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Other keywords

  • alpine glaciation
  • ice streams
  • Iceland Ice Sheet
  • marine-terminating glaciers
  • moraines
  • raised shorelines
  • Younger Dryas


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