A preliminary investigation of sediments along two large western Greenland glacio-fluvial rivers

  • Ploug, Johan, Technical University of Denmark (Project Manager)

Project Details


The aim of this study is to look at the coupling between glaciated environments, glacio-fluvial rivers and valleys and coastal deltaic areas with respect to minerals, their size and properties i.e. the change a mineral undertakes during transport from a glacier to the ocean. This includes the mapping of sediments along two river systems in the Kangerlussuaq region of West Greenland.
This poster presents the most recent results, including induction-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) determining the water chemistry and microscopic analysis of the collected sediments. Grain size and shapes are expected to be similar to those encountered in other glacio-fluvial rivers of the high arctic.
Understanding (the processes involving) the coupling between glacial erosion, transport and deposition in arctic environments, may enable us to locate interesting deposits of specific sediments along rivers, just by looking at the sediments from the delta.
17 sites were investigated, 5 along the Watson River Valley ((lat/long) WRV), 7 along the Ørkendalen River Valley ((lat/long) ØRV) and 5 along the near delta in the Kangerlussuaq fjord. For each location, a sample of the water in the river, including sediments was taken in 2-3 places across the river at different depths and at different flow rates, to study changes in flow rate with depth, along a cross section of the river. Samples were taken in the delta at different depths of known flow rate, and will reflect further knowledge of glacio-marine sedimentation.
The sediments will be determined using microscope and, where the grain size is too small, by x-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy (XRD and SEM). After the identification is complete, samples will be dissolved and taken through an ICP-MS again, to determine percentages
Effective start/end date03/04/201107/04/2011