Fluvial Influences in the Development of Periglacial Sorted Stripes

Authors: Raven Mitchell*, Northern Michigan University, Kelsey Nyland, Michigan State University , Frederick E. Nelson, Michigan State University
Topics: Cryosphere
Keywords: fluvial, sorted stripes, periglacial
Session Type: Guided Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Roosevelt 3.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Recent literature has brought increasing recognition about the importance of running water in periglacial environments. The Cathedral Massif of northwestern British Columbia contains a wealth of periglacial features, including large-scale sorted patterned ground, solifluction lobes, a rock glacier, and nivation hollows. Studies on sorted stripes atop Frost Ridge, a large topographic feature last glaciated in mid-to late Wisconsinan time, have been conducted sporadically over the course of several decades. We recently collected very high resolution imagery (<5 cm spatial resolution), using a Phantom drone flown in a double grid pattern covering an area of 14 hectares on a large cryoplanation terrace on the summit of Frost Ridge. Elsewhere on Frost Ridge, complete meltout of what until recently were perennial snowbanks has revealed the existence of well-developed sorted stripes, indicating that these features form rapidly after snowmelt, or develop even beneath snowpatches. The coarse stripes operate as channels or pipes for sediment-laden rivulets, providing a mechanism for removal of eroded sediment. Preliminary analysis indicates that the largest field of sorted stripes on Frost Ridge exhibits many of the characteristics of a radial drainage network. Field research planned for summer 2019 will involve sedimentological studies designed to discern the effects of running water in the development of sorted stripes. From preliminary analysis of remotely sensed aerial imagery and field observations, we hypothesize that fluvial processes have in the past and currently play an influential role in the formation of sorted stripes.

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