Project

Back to overview

TopoAlps: Neogene history of Alpine topography - the contribution of glacial erosion

English title TopoAlps: Neogene history of Alpine topography - the contribution of glacial erosion
Applicant Schlunegger Fritz
Number 140219
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Geologie Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Geology
Start/End 01.05.2012 - 30.04.2013
Approved amount 52'493.00
Show all

Keywords (5)

Landscape development; Glacial erosion; Inner gorges; Alpine topography; Tunnel valleys

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

We search for the potential controls on the formation of overdeepened valleys in the Alps and its northern foreland during LGM and earlier glaciations by restoring a high-resolution map of the rockhead (i.e. the top of the bedrock) for the entire area north of the Alps. The map will be analyzed for key morphologic properties that are indicative of distinct erosional mechanisms by glaciers including: (i) erosional carving by changes in the pressure gradients of the subglacial meltwater, (ii) glacial scouring in response to variations of ice flow velocities that are modulated by subglacial water pressure gradients, or (iii) glacial erosion controlled only by basal shear forces. We will proceed by compiling stratigraphic information extracted form: free drill databases of various sources (cuttings, dynamic probing) derived from tens of thousands of drillings, seismic profiles (if available), observations during building construction, previously published reports about the possible course of the bedrock surface, and already existing bedrock surface maps. The rockhead map will then be reconstructed by subtracting the elevations of the modern surface from the thicknesses of the Quaternary deposits. We will explore this map for possible relationships between morphologic features and patterns of rock mass strengths, elevations of the ELAs, and configuration of the contributing areas. These parameters either influence the erosional potential of glaciers through variations in the erosional resistance of bedrock, pressure gradients of the subglacial meltwater, and/or ice flow velocities, respectively. We anticipate that our analysis will yield in an improved understanding about the mechanisms of glacial scouring as it will be based on stratigraphic information of tens of thousands of shallow drillings. 


Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Immediate and delayed signal of slab breakoff in Oligo/Miocene Molasse deposits from the European Alps
Schlunegger F. Castelltort S. (2016), Immediate and delayed signal of slab breakoff in Oligo/Miocene Molasse deposits from the European Alps, in Scientific Reports, 6, 31010.
Slab rollback orogeny in the Alps and evolution of the Swiss Molasse Basin
Schlunegger F. Kissling E. (2015), Slab rollback orogeny in the Alps and evolution of the Swiss Molasse Basin, in Nature Communications, 6, 8605.
Alpine sedimentology: An introduction and tribute to Albert Matter and Daniel Bernoulli
Föllmi K. Schlunegger F. Weissert H. (2013), Alpine sedimentology: An introduction and tribute to Albert Matter and Daniel Bernoulli, in Sedimentology, 60, 1-18.
Climatic imprint on landscape morphology in the western escarpment of the Andes. Geomorphology
Trauersein M. Norton K.P. Preusser F. Schlunegger F. (2013), Climatic imprint on landscape morphology in the western escarpment of the Andes. Geomorphology, in Geomorphology, 194, 76-83.
Headward retreat of streams in the Late Oligocene to Early Miocene Swiss Alps.
Schlunegger F. Norton K.P. (2013), Headward retreat of streams in the Late Oligocene to Early Miocene Swiss Alps., in Sedimentology, 60, 85-101.
Hillslope processes in temperate environments. In: John F. Shorder (ed.): Treatise on Geomorphology
Schlunegger F. Norton K.P. Caduff R. (2013), Hillslope processes in temperate environments. In: John F. Shorder (ed.): Treatise on Geomorphology, in Treatise on Geomorphology, 7, 337-352.
Identification of erosional mechanisms during past glaciations based on a bedrock surface model of the central European Alps
Dürst Stucki M. Schlunegger F. (2013), Identification of erosional mechanisms during past glaciations based on a bedrock surface model of the central European Alps, in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 384, 57-70.
Lateral sediment sources and knickzones as controls on spatio-temporal variations of sediment transport in an alpine river. Sedimentology
Bekaddour T. Schlunegger F. Attal M. Norton K.P. (2013), Lateral sediment sources and knickzones as controls on spatio-temporal variations of sediment transport in an alpine river. Sedimentology, in Sedimentology, 60, 342-357.
Patterns and controls of sediment production, transfer and yield in the Illgraben
Bennett G.L. Molnar P. McArdell B.W. Schlunegger F. Burlando P. (2013), Patterns and controls of sediment production, transfer and yield in the Illgraben, in Geomorphology, 188, 68-82.
River loads and modern denudation of the Alps - a review
Hinderer M. Kastowski M. Kamelger A. Bartolini C. Schlunegger F. (2013), River loads and modern denudation of the Alps - a review, in Earth Sciences Reviews, 118, 11-44.
Deepening of inner gorges through subglacial meltwater — An example from the UNESCO Entlebuch area, Switzerland
Dürst Stucki M. Schlunegger F. Christener F. Otto J.-C. Görtz J. (2012), Deepening of inner gorges through subglacial meltwater — An example from the UNESCO Entlebuch area, Switzerland, in Geomorphology, 139-140, 506-517.
Linking the northern Alps with their foreland: The latest exhumation history resolved by low-temperature thermochronology
Von Hagke Cederbom C. Oncken O. Stöckli D. Rahn M.K. Schlunegger F. (2012), Linking the northern Alps with their foreland: The latest exhumation history resolved by low-temperature thermochronology, in Tectonics, 31, TC5010.
Miocene paleotopography of the Alps. Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Campani M. Muchl A. Kempf O. Schlunegger F. Mancktelow N. (2012), Miocene paleotopography of the Alps. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 337-338, 174-185.
The effects of sediment mixing on 10Be concentrations in the Zielbach catchment, central-eastern Italian Alps. Quaternary Geochronology
Savi S. Norton K.P. Schlunegger F. Picotti V. Brardinoni F. Akçar N. Kubik P.W., The effects of sediment mixing on 10Be concentrations in the Zielbach catchment, central-eastern Italian Alps. Quaternary Geochronology, in Quaternary Geochronology.
Water versus ice: The competing roles of modern climate and Pleistocene glacial erosion in the Central Alps of Switzerland
Schlunegger F. Norton K.P., Water versus ice: The competing roles of modern climate and Pleistocene glacial erosion in the Central Alps of Switzerland, in Tectonophysics.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. S. Willett, ETHZ Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. W. Häberli, UniZürich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Dr. F. Herman, ETHZ Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
PD P. Jordan, Böhringer AG, Ingenieure und Planer, Mühlegasse 10, 4104 Oberwil Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
120525 TOPOALPS - Neogene history of Alpine denudation and source regions (IP3) 01.05.2009 Project funding (special)

Abstract

This proposal seeks for funding to complete the research of PhD candidate M. Dürst Stucki. We need financial resources to support the PhD student for 8 months with a salary, and for attending approximately two national meetings and one big international conference. We propose to search for the potential controls on the formation of overdeepened valleys in the Alps and its northern foreland during LGM and earlier glaciations by restoring a high-resolution map of the rockhead (i.e. the top of the bedrock) for the entire area north of the Alps. The map will be analyzed for key morphologic properties that are indicative of distinct erosional mechanisms by glaciers including: (i) erosional carving by changes in the pressure gradients of the subglacial meltwater, (ii) glacial scouring in response to variations of ice flow velocities that are modulated by subglacial water pressure gradients, or (iii) glacial erosion controlled by basal shear forces only. We will proceed by compiling stratigraphic information extracted form: free drill databases of various sources (cuttings, dynamic probing) derived from tens of thousands of drillings, seismic profiles (if available), observations during the building of constructions, previously published reports about the possible course of the bedrock surface, and already existing bedrock surface maps. The rockhead map will then be reconstructed by subtracting the thicknesses of the Quaternary deposits from the elevations of the modern surface. We will explore this map for possible relationships between morphologic features and patterns of rock mass strengths, elevations of the ELAs, and configuration of the contributing areas. These parameters either influence the erosional potential of glaciers through variations in the erosional resistance of bedrock, pressure gradients of the subglacial meltwater, and/or ice flow velocities, respectively. We anticipate that our analysis will yield in an improved understanding about the mechanisms of glacial scouring as it will be based on stratigraphic information of tens of thousands of shallow drillings.
-