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Brúarjökull Photos

Brúarjökull is the largest outlet glacier of the great Vatnajökull ice cap. It is about 1700 km2, 40 km across where it is widest, and the ice margin is about 55 km long. Echosoundings have shown that the glacier fills a large valley trough. Towards the west, Brúarjökull is confined by the Kverkfjöll massif, and by the Ţjófahnjúkar Mts towards the east. Brúarjökull drains Vatnajökull to the north, towards the Brúarörćfi and Kringilsárrani highlands. Two large glacial rivers flow from Brúarjökull, Jökulsá á Dal and Kreppa, but numerous smaller rivers and banks drain meltwater from the glacier in spring and summer. Brúarjökull is the largest surging glacier in Iceland. It had major surges around 1810, 1890 and 1964. During the 1890 surge it advanced at least 10 km during few months. The 1890 ice margin is marked by large pushed-and-stacked end moraine system, where spotwise the rapidly advancing glacier rolled-up the soils in front of the glacier like a carpet. These ridges, containing glaciotectonically deformed and deplaced soils, are called Hraukar and Töđuhraukar by the Icelanders. Also, connecting to the 1890 moraines, are large sandur fields and hummocky moraine terraine. The surge in 1963-64 was less extensive than the 1890 surge, but left large, still partly ice cored, end moraines, as well as outwash plains and dead-ice fields. The Brúarjökull forefield has spectacular fluted surfaces, esker ridges, collapsed sandur fields and kettle holes. The present Brúarjökull ice margin is largely inactive (dead), and rapidly downwasting.

The photos below were shot during the 2004 field season. Feel free to use them for educational purposes, but please refer to my homepage as the source.


Dirty, downwasting ice on Brúarjökull. Photo: Ó. Ingólfsson 2004.


Kettle Hole in sandur sediments, in front of the 1890 Brúarjökull surge moraine. Photo: Ó. Ingólfsson, 2004


Concertina esker inside the 1964 moraines. Photo: Ó. Ingólfsson, 2005.

The 1890 Brúarjökull moraine, east of Sauđá. View towards west

The 1890 Brúarjökull moraine. Mt. Snćfell (1838 m) in background

Section through the 1890 end moraine, Sauđá,

Carita in basecamp.

Collapsed sandur field in front of Brúarjökull. It was built over downwasing dead ice.

Crevasse fill melting out of the Brúarjökull margin.

Dead ice below sandur deposits. Brúarjökull forefield.

Downwasting ice margin and fluted surfaces, Brúarjökull.

Esker from 1890 advance, now in Brúarjökull forfield.

Eyrarrós - Epilopium latifolium, on 1890 morainic surface.

Field camp in front of 1890 moraine.

Fluted surface in front of Brúarjökull. Ice front in background.

Fluted surface controls meltwater runoff. Brúarjökull forefield.

Glaciotectonic deformations, 1890 end moraine.

Glaciotectonic thrust faults, 1890 end moraine.

Glaciotectonically "rolled up" soils, 1890 end moraine.

Hummocky moraine, inside the 1980 moraine.

Jón Björn discovered a beautiful low-angle thrust fault in the 1890 end moraine.

Low-angle thrust fault. 1890 end moraine.

The exhausted young assistant, after a day of clearing sections.

Kurt, "Indiana Jones of the North".

Kurt and Carita on zodiac, preparing to core a lake.

Lodged boulder at the head of a flute. Brúarjökull forefield.

Polar desert - morainic drift on surface north of Brúarjökull.

Per, after a windy day in the sections.

Me, after working in the sections on a windy day.

The young assistant creating a local duststorm.

Per Möller, logging glaciotectonics in the 1890 end moraine.

Polar willow - no idea to leave the ground in a windy place like this!

Thermocarst pond, north of Brúarjökull.

Recently drained dead-ice pond. Brúarjökull 1890 end moraine.

Concertina Esker. Collapsed sandur field in foreground.

Ridge of a concertina esker

Sandstorm towards the glacier.

Setting up field camp.

Small flute behind a lodged boulder. Brúarjökull forefield.

Fluted surface, Brúarjökull forefield.

Frost shatterd boulder. Brúarjökull foredield.

Lichens growing on frost shattered boulder.

Unstable glacial surface. Brúarjökull forefield.

Water erosion along a flute on Kringilsárrani. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

Bird on a crevasse fill. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

Base camp in Kringilsárrani. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

Brúarjökull ice margin. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

Crevasse fill. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

Crevasse fill on a fluted surface. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

Pointed dirt cone in Brúarjökull forefield. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

Ice front with small eskers. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

Esker at ice margin. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

Fluted surface seen from helicopter. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

Fluted surface seen from helicopter. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

Glacial drift and Brúarjökull ice margin. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

View towards Brúarjökull ice margin. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir.

Ice margin seen from helicopter. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

Large, lodged boulder. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

Meltwater channel eroded in bedrock. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

Helo slingloading equipment. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

Large, striated boulder at the head of a flute. Photo: L.R. Bjarnadóttir, 2004.

Unstable terrain from the 1964 surge. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Field of meleted-out crevasse fillings. Photo: I.Ö.Benediktsson, 2004.

P-form channels in bedrock. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson

Lunch brek in a meltwater channel. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Contrasts in vegetation between 1890 and 1964 surfaces. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Cracks in moraine surface because of downwasting of dead ice. 1890 moraine complex. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Glacier ice in the 1890 moraine. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Striated stoss-lee boulder. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Crevasse fill emerging from the ice margin. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Crevasse fill crossing a flute. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Slightly curved flute, 1964 surge field. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Blocky 1890 end moraine on top of sandur deposit. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

One view of the 1964 end moraine. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Panorama of a section through the 1890 end moraine. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Heavily sheared sandy sediments in the 1890 end moraine. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Recording glacitectonic deformations in the 1890 end moraine. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Jaap and Kurt mapping a section in the 1890 end moraine. Photo: I. Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Large boulder at the head of a flute. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Glaciotectonically deformed sediments. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Late August sunset in Kringilsarrani. Photo: I.Ö. Benediktsson, 2004.

Drumlin in front of Brúarjökull, close to Kringilsá. Photo: Ó. Ingólfsson, 2005.

Glacial drift in front of Brúarjökull. Photo: Ó. Ingólfsson, 2005.

Concertina esker melting out of the ice front. Photo: Ó. Ingólfsson, 2005.

Concertina esker melting out of the ice front. Photo: Ó. Ingólfsson, 2005.

A part of the 1964 end moraine on Kringilsárrani. Photo: Ó. Ingólfsson, 2005.

Inside the 1964 moraines on Kringilsárrani. Photo: Ó. Ingólfsson, 2005.