24. Iceberg rafted debris

Dr Jeff Evans

Arctic and Antarctic glaciers erode land and subsequently release icebergs that contain sediment derived from that erosion. Icebergs travel large distances and as they melt, they release this ‘iceberg rafted debris’ onto the ocean floor.

I collected this debris from the bed of the Atlantic Ocean west of Iceland. The rocks are granite and gneiss which came from the glaciated mountains of northeast Greenland. Changes in the amount of iceberg rafted debris in sea-floor sediments indicate major climate change. Large amounts of debris can coincide with periods of warming and increased release of icebergs during ice sheet collapse, or periods of colder conditions and more extensive ice sheets.

My research uses iceberg rafted debris to determine how ice sheets respond to climate change and how they may respond to future climate change. This work has taken me to offshore regions of the Arctic and Antarctica.