The last Fennoscandian Ice Sheet glaciation on the Kola Peninsula and Russian Lapland (Part 1): Ice flow configuration

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A detailed reconstruction of palaeo-ice flow configuration is lacking for the Kola Peninsula and Russian Lapland, northwest Arctic Russia. This study presents, for the first time, a 14-stage reconstruction of the last Fennoscandian Ice Sheet (FIS) flow configuration on the Kola Peninsula and Russian Lapland from build-up to complete deglaciation. Flowsets (n = 102) and cross-cutting bedform assemblages identified from a high-resolution subglacial bedform record (subglacial lineations and subglacial ribs) are combined with subglacially streamlined bedrock data to define ice flow patterns, ice divides, ice margins, and glaciation styles of the last glaciation through relative time.

The results demonstrate that the FIS flow configuration was not static. The FIS advanced eastwards across the region from Scandinavia, rather than expanding from local upland areas, and established a predominantly cold-based ice mass on the Kola Peninsula with an extensive adjacent warm-based ice lobe in the White Sea. An east-west aligned ice divide was located on the Kola Peninsula and Russian Lapland during the ice sheet build-up stages. However, this divide was short-lived as the White Sea lobe dominated ice flow on the peninsula during the local-Last Glacial Maximum, and ice predominantly flowed across the region from the main ice dispersal zone that was centred over the Gulf of Bothnia during deglaciation. Deglaciation on the peninsula was initially characterised by cold-based ice sheet retreat on the central eastern Kola Peninsula and warm-based ice lobe retreat in the White Sea. Continued deglaciation was characterised by ice sheet thinning, exposing mountain summits as nunataks behind the ice sheet margin, with topography constraining ice flow around upland areas. Ice streams in the region were drivers and consequences of continued ice sheet configuration change throughout glaciation. Four palaeo ice streams – (i) the Imandra Ice Stream; (ii) the Lovozero Ice Stream; (iii) the Kanozero Ice Stream; and (iv) the Kuusamo Ice Stream – and three possible palaeo-ice stream pathways are identified.

We consider our ice flow configuration reconstruction to be the simplest palaeo-glaciological interpretation of the bedform record of the Kola Peninsula and Russian Lapland. The empirically-based reconstruction of ice flow geometry provides a regional framework and context for interpreting results from local-scale fieldwork, and is presented in a format that can be utilised by numerical ice sheet modellers to test and verify their models. The results underpin a new data-driven reconstruction of the last FIS in northwest Arctic Russia that we present in Part 2 of this study.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107871
Number of pages18
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Frances Butcher, Chris Clark, Anna Hughes, Jeremy Ely, and the wider PALGLAC research group are gratefully acknowledged for a flowset-building workshop and discussions during the analysis of the geomorphological record. Iestyn Barr and Paul Dunlop are gratefully acknowledged for their helpful comments on this paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022


  • Fennoscandian Ice Sheet
  • Kola Peninsula
  • Russian Lapland
  • Russia
  • Flowsets
  • Subglacial bedforms
  • Late Weichselian


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