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Ice bull dozers

7 May 2014

Tim Cullen provides a tour of oddities on Ellesmere Island, to the NW of Greenland and abutting the Arctic Ocean, the world's tenth largest island – go to http://malagabay.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/the-ellesmere-embarrassments/

He begins with Fort Conger and the wood used to build it over a 100 years ago – now rotting due to fungi. He then turns to the fossil forest which has preserved as good as fresh wood from a tree near you from some millions of years ago, buried beneath sediments, and then moves to coal seams and layers of coal that outcrop on the surface of the island, even more millions of years ahgo. Some 55 million years ago verdant forests grew on the island, a wetland environment (as always with coal it seems) of the kind now found in some parts of China (species similarities). However, his main point is that the Pleistocene glaciations did not bulldoze all this wood and coal into moraines. On the Canadian Shield the bedrock is wiped clean of overlying geology – where the ice sheet was. Ice sheets flatten trees and reshape the landscape – filling valleys with drift or sculpting valleys into bowl like depressions. He says mainstream consensus has ice sheets acting like a bulldozer – shifting everything before them. Why has this not happened on Ellesmere Island?

One explanation is that mainstream theory on how ice sheets behave is wrong. They are not a rigid body (like a bulldozer's blade) but behave in a plastic fashion – which he likens to the behaviour of pitch whose several parts can roll over one another. Its lower surface, in contact with the ground, is dogged by friction – and moves little. At the same time it upper parts flow faster.

See also Henry Hoyle Howorth – https://archive.org/details/glacialnightmare02howorich

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