Progressive formation of modern drumlins at Múlajökull, Iceland: stratigraphical and morphological evidence

Ívar Örn Benediktsson, Sverrir A. Jónsson, Anders Schomacker, Mark D. Johnson, Ólafur Ingólfsson, Lucas Zoet, Neal R. Iverson, Johann Stötter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The drumlin field at Múlajökull, Iceland, is considered to be an active field in that partly and fully ice-covered drumlins are being shaped by the current glacier regime. We test the hypothesis that the drumlins form by a combination of erosion and deposition during successive surge cycles. We mapped and measured 143 drumlins and studied their stratigraphy in four exposures. All exposures reveal several till units where the youngest till commonly truncates older tills on the drumlin flanks and proximal slope. Drumlins inside a 1992 moraine are relatively long and narrow whereas drumlins outside the moraine are wider and shorter. A conceptual model suggests that radial crevasses create spatial heterogeneity in normal stress on the bed so that deposition is favoured beneath crevasses and erosion in adjacent areas. Consequently, the crevasse pattern of the glacier controls the location of proto-drumlins. A feedback mechanism leads to continued crevassing and increased sedimentation at the location of the proto-drumlins. The drumlin relief and elongation ratio increases as the glacier erodes the sides and drapes a new till over the landform through successive surges. Our observations of this only known active drumlin field may have implications for the formation and morphological evolution of Pleistocene drumlin fields with similar composition, and our model may be tested on modern drumlins that may become exposed upon future ice retreat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-583
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Collegium Boreas. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


Dive into the research topics of 'Progressive formation of modern drumlins at Múlajökull, Iceland: stratigraphical and morphological evidence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this