Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - GLANAM (GLANAM (Glaciated North Atlantic Margins))

The Glaciated North Atlantic Margins (GLANAM) ITN (www.glanam.org) comprised eight full partners and two associated partners from Norway, UK and Denmark. Three of the partners were private enterprises, the rest were governmental institutions and universities. The scientific goal of the GLANAM ITN has been to determine the controls on the development, in time and space, of glaciated continental margins. To reach this goal the GLANAM ITN focused on the North Atlantic continental margins from Ireland in the south to Greenland and Svalbard in the north. The GLANAM ITN was organized in 15 subprojects with each subproject related to one of three interrelated work packages (WP1-WP3). There were 15 fellows (4 ERs and 11 ESRs), 8 male and 7 females, in the network from 10 different European countries. One of the ESRs has defended his thesis (December 2016), two fellows have submitted and will defend their thesis in spring 2017, whereas the rest are expected to have their defence later in 2017. In addition to the fellows funded by the EU, other researchers in the same field, funded from other sources, and MSc-students were also associated with the ITN. During the four years of GLANAM ITN, the fellows have participated on 28 cruises in the GLANAM ITN focus areas and each fellow has had a secondment as part of their training. We have also invited renowned international scientists with long experience on glaciated margins to participate in our annual workshops. Over 30 papers in international peer-reviewed journals are either published or in process, and more are being developed by the team. A notable project output will be a Special Issue of the journal Marine Geology on Glaciated North Atlantic Margins, which is being edited by GLANAM ITN members and contains many GLANAM ITN papers.

To achieve the goals described in the individual subprojects the GLANAM fellows have analysed a wide range of geological and geophysical datasets including acoustic data as well as sediment cores. In addition, numerical modelling experiments of different types have been carried out.. These achievements have contributed strongly to new knowledge on glaciated margins and the themes of the three ITN work packages:

WP1: Ice sheet history on circum-North Atlantic continental shelves. Four major ice sheets, the Greenland, British-Irish, Svalbard-Barents Sea and Fennoscandian ice sheets, delivered meltwater, icebergs and sediments into the North Atlantic during glacial periods, and seven of the GLANAM ITN subprojects have had a focus on ice sheet history and on determining the role of ice sheet advances and retreats in terms of spatial extent, flow dynamics and timing. The most important findings from WP1 are:

1. The marine parts the British-Irish, Fennoscandian and Svalbard-Barents ice sheets are much more dynamic and unstable than previously documented, with a number of retreats/advances during the last glacial phase (from 30,000 to 10,000 years ago).
2. A large number of absolute dates linked with ice marginal positions have led to new reconstructions of the last glacial phases of the studied ice sheets.
3. New information of the pattern of retreat and retreat rates of large marine-based ice streams have been generated, showing that ice streams can retreat by speeds of up to 400 m/year.

WP2: Glacigenic sedimentation and sediment delivery across the continental margin from fjord to deep sea. Through four subprojects, this WP explored the link between sedimentary process and product and addressed the questions of how glacigenic sediments are formed at a local scale in both ice-proximal and ice-distal environments and how this relates to margin development. Important conclusions from WP2 are:

1. Seismic data combined with ODP core data from the East Greenland margin reveals an asynchronous growth of the ice sheet across the shelf, with a marked northward shift of ice stream activity from the late Miocene to the present along the central East Greenland margin.
2. On the West Greenland margin, investigations of two bank areas adjoining the Disko Trough demonstrate the influence of local factors, e.g. topography and tectonics, on ice dynamics.
3. Investigation of acoustic data and sea bed samples from fjord systems with tide water glaciers on Greenland and Svalbard have produced new information of the sedimentary processes in these extreme environments.

WP3: The inter-relationship of glacial and non-glacial processes on the North Atlantic margins. Through four subprojects WP3 has focused on the question of how glacial processes interact with non-glacial processes across the North Atlantic margins and a range of different aspects pertaining to this problem, including modelling glacioisostatic adjustment and development of fluid flow systems on glaciated margins, have been conducted. Important conclusions from WP3 are:

1. There is a detectable long-term influence of the ice loading history in the Barents Sea. This was tested through glacial isostatic adjustment modelling and compared to relative sea level data in order to infer the most likely former ice load scenario for this area. It was shown that, out of the four model ice load scenarios tested, only two provide a reliable fit to the observations.
2. By combining observational data from the Barents Sea with numerical modelling, new information on major erosion episodes in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic have been obtained. These results are likely to have a significant impact on petroleum prospecting in the region.
3. A compilation of post-glacial mass movements from 22 fjord systems and 6 lakes along the Norwegian coast strongly suggests that earthquakes, partly resulting from the last glacial rebound, are the most important trigger mechanism behind such events.
4. Information on chronology and sediment characteristics from an area on the upper Norwegian continental slope, in combined with numerical modelling, suggest that sediment accumulation rates play an important role in the stability of gas hydrates.

The results of the GLANAM ITN have a wide societal relevance and impact towards national and local governments, private enterprises and to research groups at academic institutions in the following aspects: (i) Climate: the GLANAM ITN results are contributing towards a better understanding on how rapidly large, marine-based parts of an ice sheet can disintegrate. Such information is central to refine predictions of future sea level rise and to provide a better understanding on how freshwater input can influence oceanic circulation and climate; (ii) Geohazard: the GLANAM ITN has provided us with a better constraint on when, why and where mass failures events, which may have a devastating effect on population and infrastructure, can take place. Such information is important in order to predict where failure events may take place in the future; (iii) Hydrocarbon exploration, Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) and seabed installations: Modelling of the crustal movement resulting from repeated glaciations, as undertaken in the GLANAM ITN, is central for a better understanding of formation and migration of hydrocarbon and fluid flow systems on glaciated margins. Such information has also become important when evaluating areas for CCS. Improved knowledge of glacial sedimentary systems and processes in offshore areas are also important with respect to seabed infrastructure, e.g. offshore wind farms; and (iv) Energy: the GLANAM ITN has provided knowledge that is demonstrably central for understanding gas hydrate systems, a potential energy source, in glaciated regions.

THE WIDER SOCIETAL IMPLICATION


The training/education, networking as well as the scientific results of GLANAM ITN have a wide societal relevance and impact towards different types of governing bodies, private enterprises and to research groups at academic institutions. GLANAM ITN has also through outreach activities (i.e. open meetings, talks for stakeholders and the GLANAM movie) strived to increase the public awareness and knowledge on questions and challenges addressed through research on glaciated continental margins.

Through the transferrable skills training program and the workshops organised, the candidates as a group have been through a much more focused and intense training than commonly are offered to PhD students and postdocs in their respective countries of origin. The fact that the fellows are representing 10 different nationalities and thus have a wide background in terms of previous education and knowledge in geology, have provided an good and active environment for knowledge transfer through networking and interactions between the fellows. Also, the active participation of PIs, both from academic institutions as well as from the industry, together with invited experts in the field, have made the four workshops organised (including field trips) very scientific stimulating and have exposed the fellows for methods and insights from activities outside their own individual subproject. The good gender balance amongst the fellows (8 male and 7 females) has also contributed to a good learning environment. We feel confident to conclude that the GLANAM ITN candidates in the years to come will contribute to the workforce of both industry and academic institutions as exceptionally trained new employees.

Of societal relevance in terms of the scientific results from the 15 subprojects, we will mention the GLANAM ITN contributions to the following fields:
(i) Climate. GLANAM ITN results are contributing towards a better understanding on how rapid large marine based parts of an ice sheet can disintegrate. Such information is central to refine prediction of future raising sea level and to provide a better understanding on how freshwater input can influence oceanic circulation and climate.
(ii) Geohazard. GLANAM ITN has provided us with a better knowledge on when, why and where mass failures events, which may have a devastating effect on both population and infrastructure, can take place. Such information is important in order to predict where failure events may take place in the future,
(iii) Hydrocarbon exploration, Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) and seabed installations. Modelling of the crustal movement resulting from repeated glaciations, as undertaken in the GLANAM ITN, is central for a better understanding of formation and migration of hydrocarbon and fluid flow systems on glaciated margins. Such information has also become important when evaluating areas for CCS. Better knowledge on the glacial sedimentary systems and processes in offshore areas are also important information regarding seabed infrastructures as e.g. offshore wind farms,
(iv) Energy. GLANAM ITN has furthermore provided knowledge proven central for understanding gas hydrate systems, a potential energy source, in glaciated regions.

Reported by

UNIVERSITETET I BERGEN
Norway

Subjects

Life Sciences
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