Deep scratches in the sea floor trace the paths of ancient icebergs

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An almost circular iceberg ploughmark from south of Brasvelbreen, Svalbard. Red 25 m water depth, green 50 m.
Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms (2017)

Just south of the island of Svalbard, between Norway and the North Pole, deep scratches in the sea floor show the historical movements of icebergs. This image is one of 200 contained in the new Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms, compiled over the past four years by more than 250 marine geologists and glaciologists around the world.

The volume, the first of its kind in more than two decades, will assist researchers to interpret the history of ice sheets and how environmental change has reshaped the continents. “It’s exciting to see the atlas finally in print,” say co-editor Kelly Hogan, a geophysicist with the British Antarctic Survey. “It’s a beautiful representation of what the seafloor can tell us about the past, much like a tree ring.”

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