Our latest collaboration is with Cambridge University and the British Antarctic Survey. Gardline are sponsoring a PHD project entitled Water Flow Beneath Past Ice Sheets. We are providing HRS 3D datasets from the North Sea which are providing information never seen before. The scientific community involved in this area of research, spanning 20 years in total, are very excited by the information contained within the data.
The datasets have shown that the infill lithology and architecture of buried tunnel valleys, located in the central North Sea, are significantly more complex than has been recognised from conventional 3D seismic investigations previously. In some cases, the valleys contain features that indicate they were re-occupied by ice multiple times after their initial formation.
Examples of some of these infill features include a 14-km-long system of segmented eskers, crevasse-squeeze ridges, kettle holes, subsidiary meltwater channels and retreat moraines. Many of these structures have never been documented inside tunnel valleys before. Comparison to modern-day examples of these features in other glacial settings is being used to infer the environments in which the tunnel valleys were formed and filled. A coarser regional-scale dataset has been used to supplement the analysis of the high-resolution 3D data and place each dataset into the context of previously established ‘generations’ of tunnel valleys.
The preliminary results of this work will be presented at the European Geophysical Union conference in Vienna, 3rd to 8th May 2020. A forthcoming workshop has been organised in which distinguished academics with decades of experience will discuss the implications of this research and future research directions. Among those attending are Professor Mads Huuse from the University of Manchester, Professor Julian Dowdeswell from the University of Cambridge, Dr Kelly Hogan and Dr Robert Larter from the British Antarctic Survey and colleagues from Denmark, Germany, and Norway. At the workshop they will discuss what can be learnt from high-resolution investigations of tunnel valley infill, the implications of this for tunnel valley genesis and how this knowledge can be applied to better understand the movement of water beneath modern ice sheets such as Antarctica and Greenland.