The drumlin field and the geomorphology of the Múlajökull surge-type glacier, central Iceland

Sverrir Aalsteinn Jónsson*, Anders Schomacker, Ívar Örn Benediktsson, Ólafur Ingólfsson, Mark D. Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Here we present a new geomorphological map of the active drumlin field and the forefield of Múlajökull, a surge-type outlet glacier, Iceland. The map is based on aerial photographs taken in 1995 and LiDAR data recorded in 2008. Mapping was done using ArcGIS 10 software on orthorectified imagery, LiDAR data and digital elevation models. The mapped landforms were initially identified on the aerial imagery and LiDAR and then ground-checked in the field. We mapped subglacial, supraglacial, ice-marginal, periglacial, and glaciofluvial landforms. The geomorphology of the Múlajökull forefield is similar to that of the forefields of other surge-type glaciers in Iceland: with a highly streamlined forefield, crevasse-fill ridges, and series of glaciotectonic end moraines. However, the large number (i.e., 110) of drumlins forming the drumlin field is unique for modern Icelandic surge-type glaciers and, as yet, unique for contemporary glaciers in general. Also apparent is that the drumlins are wider and shorter in the distal part of the drumlin field and narrower and longer in the proximal part. Hence, the mapping reveals a development of the drumlins toward a more streamlined shape of the proximal landforms that have experienced more surges. The drumlins in the drumlin field are active, i.e., they form during the modern surges of Múlajökull.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-220
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Múlajökull project was funded by the Icelandic Centre for Research (RANNÍS) , the University of Iceland Research fund, the Energy Research Fund of Landsvirkjun , and the Carlsberg Foundation . Geoff Gadd is thanked for the photograph in Fig. 4 C and Skafti Brynjólfsson, Jón Björn Ólafsson, and Márus Hjörtur Jónsson are thanked for their assistance in the field. The manuscript benefited from constructive comments from Kent M. Syversson and one anonymous reviewer. Appendix A

Other keywords

  • Drumlin
  • Glacial geomorphology
  • Iceland
  • Múlajökull
  • Surge-type glacier


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