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Discussion of ‘Field evidence and hydraulic modeling of a large Holocene jökulhlaup at Jökulsá á Fjöllum channel, Iceland’ by Douglas Howard, Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach and Timothy Beach, 2012

Discussion of ‘Field evidence and hydraulic modeling of a large Holocene jökulhlaup at Jökulsá á Fjöllum channel, Iceland’ by Douglas Howard, Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach and Timothy Beach, 2012
Discussion of ‘Field evidence and hydraulic modeling of a large Holocene jökulhlaup at Jökulsá á Fjöllum channel, Iceland’ by Douglas Howard, Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach and Timothy Beach, 2012
This paper discusses Howard et al. (2012) who reconstruct the peak discharge of a glacial outburst flood, or ‘jökulhlaup’, for part of the Jökulsá á Fjöllum in north-central Iceland. They propose that this flood was the largest on Earth.Weconsider that the magnitude of the jökulhlaup proposed by Howard et al. (2012) warrants much more robust field evidence and demands more carefully parameterised hydraulic modelling. For these reasons we firstly (i) present their study in the context of previous research (ii) highlight issues with attributing landforms and sediments to jökulhlaups, and (iii) consider uncertainty regarding the timing and magnitude of jökulhlaups along the Jökulsá á Fjöllum. We argue herein that whilst a range of landforms and sediments that are attributable to jökulhlaups can be observed along the Jökulsá á Fjöllum, these are not necessarily diagnostic of jökulhlaups. Secondly, we critically discuss (iv) the major underlying assumptions of their study, and (v) their calculations and subsequent interpretations. These assessments lead us to consider that the proposal by Howard et al. (2012) of the largest flood on Earth is highly unrealistic, especially when due consideration is given to a possible source area and a trigger mechanism.
jökulsá á fjöllum, iceland, outburst flood, landscape, hydraulics
0169-555X
512-519
Carrivick, Jonathan
54c8c637-470e-4213-9edb-c6dc36c6d6e4
Tweed, Fiona
fc347232-955a-4e0d-ad2b-06226ee842a4
Carling, Paul A.
8d252dd9-3c88-4803-81cc-c2ec4c6fa687
Alho, Petteri
4a10d643-d58d-4229-995a-a9d3dcce8290
Marren, Philip
aab25f73-2825-4c5b-847c-5b9d5ce32423
Staines, Kate
8f973205-2b94-4c10-a342-ac79107644a6
Russell, Andrew
f994c342-721b-4702-8e0f-855628d0e361
Ruchmer, Lucy
0ee7e7a8-ebd7-45ce-92a8-33f486d66e36
Duller, Robert
7e10b763-94e9-4395-ae33-cc29cdc2d87d
Carrivick, Jonathan
54c8c637-470e-4213-9edb-c6dc36c6d6e4
Tweed, Fiona
fc347232-955a-4e0d-ad2b-06226ee842a4
Carling, Paul A.
8d252dd9-3c88-4803-81cc-c2ec4c6fa687
Alho, Petteri
4a10d643-d58d-4229-995a-a9d3dcce8290
Marren, Philip
aab25f73-2825-4c5b-847c-5b9d5ce32423
Staines, Kate
8f973205-2b94-4c10-a342-ac79107644a6
Russell, Andrew
f994c342-721b-4702-8e0f-855628d0e361
Ruchmer, Lucy
0ee7e7a8-ebd7-45ce-92a8-33f486d66e36
Duller, Robert
7e10b763-94e9-4395-ae33-cc29cdc2d87d

Carrivick, Jonathan, Tweed, Fiona, Carling, Paul A., Alho, Petteri, Marren, Philip, Staines, Kate, Russell, Andrew, Ruchmer, Lucy and Duller, Robert (2013) Discussion of ‘Field evidence and hydraulic modeling of a large Holocene jökulhlaup at Jökulsá á Fjöllum channel, Iceland’ by Douglas Howard, Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach and Timothy Beach, 2012. Geomorphology, 201, 512-519. (doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2012.10.024).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This paper discusses Howard et al. (2012) who reconstruct the peak discharge of a glacial outburst flood, or ‘jökulhlaup’, for part of the Jökulsá á Fjöllum in north-central Iceland. They propose that this flood was the largest on Earth.Weconsider that the magnitude of the jökulhlaup proposed by Howard et al. (2012) warrants much more robust field evidence and demands more carefully parameterised hydraulic modelling. For these reasons we firstly (i) present their study in the context of previous research (ii) highlight issues with attributing landforms and sediments to jökulhlaups, and (iii) consider uncertainty regarding the timing and magnitude of jökulhlaups along the Jökulsá á Fjöllum. We argue herein that whilst a range of landforms and sediments that are attributable to jökulhlaups can be observed along the Jökulsá á Fjöllum, these are not necessarily diagnostic of jökulhlaups. Secondly, we critically discuss (iv) the major underlying assumptions of their study, and (v) their calculations and subsequent interpretations. These assessments lead us to consider that the proposal by Howard et al. (2012) of the largest flood on Earth is highly unrealistic, especially when due consideration is given to a possible source area and a trigger mechanism.

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Accepted/In Press date: 23 October 2012
e-pub ahead of print date: 30 October 2012
Published date: 1 November 2013
Keywords: jökulsá á fjöllum, iceland, outburst flood, landscape, hydraulics
Organisations: Earth Surface Dynamics

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 348250
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/348250
ISSN: 0169-555X
PURE UUID: 8cae764b-e459-4ab2-9f68-c8e21bda0c35

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Date deposited: 15 Apr 2013 08:25
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 04:53

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