Feb. 8, 2011 A team of geologists has discovered a new field of drumlins- geological formations of glacial origin -- in the eastern sector of Lake Viedma, located in the Los Glaciares National Park in Southern Patagonia, Chile. This is one of the most important findings of a project aimed at charting the paleoclimate in regions of Patagonia and reconstructing the dynamics of glaciations from thousands of years ago.
Participants in the project include Professor David Serrat, from the UB's Department of Geodynamics and Geophysics, who co-authored the first description of the drumlin fields on Gable Island (1987) in the Beagle Channel, a tectonic basin that connects the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans in sub-Antarctic latitudes.
The team also includes Jorge Óscar Rabasa and Federico Ponce, from the Southern Centre for Scientific Research of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council of Argentina (CADIC-CONICET), and Óscar Martínez, from the National University of Patagonia. The project was carried out under a long-standing collaborative framework between the UB and the CADIC-CONICET, with the participation of the National University of Patagonia.
Drumlins (from the Gaelic droimnín, meaning 'little ridge') are small, oval hillocks formed below the ice by the movement of glaciers. Southern Patagonia is one of the key locations in the southern hemisphere for the study of these geoforms, which provide valuable information for paleoclimactic research. The team of experts located the new drumlin field -- which also contains examples flutes and megaflutes, formations associated with the presence of drumlins -- in the eastern sector of Lake Viedma, a relatively unstudied area until now. The project describes the different components of these subglacial geoforms and identifies three sectors -- north, central and south -- with distinct characteristics. According to the results, the area contains a minimum of 19 and 199 flutes and megaflutes, with some of the latter formations measuring over four kilometres in length. Evidence suggests that these geoforms were created at the base of the terminal lobe of the Viedma Glacier when it retreated from the valley to which it was confined.
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