Analysis of ‘hummocky moraine’ using Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry

Simon J. Cook*, Toby Tonkin, Nicholas Midgley, Anya Wicikowski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


This study presents results of a high-resolution topographic survey of the proglacial area of Austre Lovénbreen, Svalbard. Structure-from-Motion (SfM) was used to generate a digital elevation model (DEM) of the proglacial zone from aerial imagery. This DEM is used to explore the topography of a zone of hummocky moraine within the glacier ’s Neoglacial limit. The origin of hummocky moraine has proven controversial, but detailed morphological studies can contribute to a better understanding of how these features form, and the extent to which they may be preserved in the palaeo-glaciological record, including within northwest Britain. In cross-profile, hummocky moraine is characterised by a sequence of asymmetrical ridges, with longer, low angle up-glacier faces, and shorter, steeper down-glacier faces. This profile is interpreted to represent a sequence of ridges stacked-up against a bedrock riegel and reverse bedslope. Whilst the origin of these features is uncertain, the enhanced compression associated with glacier flow against a bedrock riegel, possibly during a glacier surge, may have been sufficient to have generated debris-rich englacial thrusts that subsequently melted-out to form the observed hummocky moraine. The significance of this research highlights ongoing studies aimed at understanding the origin and palaeo-glaciological significance of hummocky moraine in northwest Britain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-18
Number of pages10
JournalNorth West Geography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Digital Elevation Models
  • Glacial geomorphology
  • Hummocky moraine
  • LiDAR
  • Structure-from-Motion
  • Svalbard


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