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Other surging glaciers
Other surging glaciers

Some recent Svalbard surges

Skjermisen - Stepanovfjellet
Stepanovfjellet - Skjermisen 2010  Photo: Trond Eiken
Surge from Skjermisen - Stepanovfjellet towards Markhambreen autumn 2010                           Photo. T. Eiken

The glacier basin draining west from Stepanovfjellet and towards  Markhambreen has had a visible surge since summer 2009.

Basin 3 Austfonna
Austfonna Basin 3 2009 Initial crevasing due to surge
Basin 3 Austfonna 2009, initial creassing on an elevated ridge due to surge                                Photo: M. Sund

The surge of Basin 3 corresponds well to Solheim’s (1991) calculation of the basin’s surge cycle of 130-140 years, which is shorter than that of Bråsvellbreen estimated to more than 500 years. The variation stem from differences in the size of the accumulation area.


Bungebreen 2010  Photo: Cecilie H. v. Quillfeldt
Front of Bungebreen autumn 2010                                                                                   Photo: C.H. v Quillfeldt

The eastern part of Bungebreen, draining from Sergievskipasset in Sørkapp land, has showed sign of surge since 2004. Currently the surge has propagated all the way to the terminus, also affecting the western part of the terminus.

2009. Sund, M., Eiken, T., Hagen, J.O. and Kääb, A. Svalbard surge dynamics derived
from geometric changes. Annals of Glaciology 50(52), 50-60.


Skilfonna 2010  Photo: Monica Sund
Skilfonna in middle of image. Note draw down along mountains                                                  Photo: M. Sund

Skilfonna is one of several glaciers that earlier confluece to one joint glacier front called Vasilievbreen, calving into Isbukta. Crevasses resulting from surge were visible since summer 2004.

2009. Sund, M., Eiken, T., Hagen, J.O. and Kääb, A. Svalbard surge dynamics derived
from geometric changes. Annals of Glaciology 50(52), 50-60. 

Klubbebreen south - a small glacier

Klubbebreen south during surge                                                                                                    Photo: M. Sund

This glacier, located south of the small glacier Klubbebreen, is only ~0.5 km2 still it has advanced several hundred metres and has ecperienced a large surge relative to its size.

2009. Sund, M., Eiken, T., Hagen, J.O. and Kääb, A. Svalbard surge dynamics derived
from geometric changes. Annals of Glaciology 50(52), 50-60. 


Skobreen 2005  Photo: Monica Sund
Skobreen during surge in summer 2005                                                                                         Photo: M. Sund

Skobreen is located in the south-eastern part of Spitsbergen. The surge was initially noticed as an advance of the terminus of Paulabreen by a tourist guide in March 2005. Aerial photos in June 2005 revealed that the advance was caused by a surge of Skobreen. The entire glacier surface of Skobreen had been lowered several tenths of metres, and flowing into the lower part of Paulabreen. Studies show that Skobreen had a small advance of the moraine already in 2003 and there were incipient crevassing in the upper part as early as 1990.
Further reading:  2006. Sund, M. A surge of Skobreen, Svalbard. Polar Research 25(2), 115-122. 


Tunabreen  Photo: Brynjulv Eide
Tunabreen just after surge                                                                                                              Photo: B. Eide 

Tunabreen is located in the mid-eastern part of Spitsbergen in the innermost Tempelfjorden. The glacier has just surged and advanced about 1.4 km between 1999 and 2004. The surge could be observed as increased calving during autumn 2003 and from satelite images. However, a few year before there were indications of increasing winter velocities shown as pushed sea-ice. This glacier has a short quiescent period compared to other Svalbard surge-glaciers. The previous two surges were registered in 1970 and 1930.


Ingerbreen at 77° 45.4' N 18° 17' E is surging into the confluencing tidewater terminus with Richardbreen. The terminus position is registered with advance in 2002 ( Norwegian Polar Institute 2006-map C10), but the surge was probably initiated some time before this and the terminus started to advance in 2001. ASTER images from 2005 show that the surface of the glacier is heavily crevasses all the way from the headwall to the terminus. The surge has also affected the terminal part of Richardbreen. The glacier was not previously registered with a surge.

2009. Sund, M., Eiken, T., Hagen, J.O. and Kääb, A. Svalbard surge dynamics derived
from geometric changes. Annals of Glaciology 50(52), 50-60. 


Not so recent Svalbard surges

Mendelejevbreen and Fredfonna

Mendelejevbreen and Fredfonna is located in southern part of Spitsbergen, south of Hornsund. Not previously known to have surged and covered an area of approximately 45 square km prior to surge around 2000.

Mendelejevbreen 2000  Photo:  Monica Sund     
Mendelejevbreen during surge in 2000                                                                                        Photo: M. Sund

Perseibreen and Vindeggbreen

The valley glaciers Perseibreen and Vindeggbreen are located on the south eastern coast of Spitsbergen. Between 1990 and the summer of 2000 they switched from quiescent phase to surge phase. The velocity increased strongly between June 2000 and May 2001, with a terminus advance of more than 400 m/year. Reaching its maximum velocity between May and August 2000 when the rate increased to over 750 m/year. The minimum length of the last quiescent phase is 130 years (Dowdeswell and Benham, 2003). Perseibreen and Vindeggbreen covered an area of 59 square km prior to the surge (Hagen et al., 1993).

 Perseibreen and Vindeggbreen  Photo: Monica Sund
Perseibreen and Vindeggbreen during surge in 2003                                                                    Photo: M. Sund


Fridtjovbreen is situated on the western middle part of Spitsbergen. During the period October 1991 to June 1995 the glacier velocity rose slowly, followed by a dramatic increase in February and May 1996, before dropping in October 1997. From 1995 to 1998 the glacier advanced about 2.8 km. 

Fridtjovbreen 1996  Photo: Monica Sund
 Fridtjovbreen during surge in 1996                                                                                              Photo: M. Sund

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