Substratum morphology and significance during the Weichselian Odra ice lobe advance in northeast Germany and northwest Poland


ice stream
last Scandinavian Ice Sheet
subglacial conditions

How to Cite

Hermanowski, P. (2015). Substratum morphology and significance during the Weichselian Odra ice lobe advance in northeast Germany and northwest Poland. Geologos, 21(4), 241–248.


In the Polish Lowlands, three main ice lobes, referred to as Odra, Vistula and Mazury, formed during the Last Scandinavian Glaciation. These lobes protruded at least several kilometres beyond the main ice margin and it is believed that they represent terminal parts of the ice streams. Applied geostatistical analysis based on numerous geological data has allowed an approximate reconstruction of the Odra ice lobe substratum in the area of northwest Poland and northeast Germany. A spatial representation of the Odra lobe substratum clearly illustrates the adverse slope of the glacier bed, but also indicates areas morphologically prone to ice streaming. It is suggested that the ice took advantage of local topography that enabled advance out of the Baltic basin; consequently, the ice followed a topographic low which, in combination with favourable hydraulic conditions of its substratum, likely initiated ice streaming.


Anderson, J.B., Smith Wellner, S., Lowe, A.L., Mosola, A.B. & Shipp, S.S., 2001. Footprint of the Expanded West Antarctic Ice Sheet: Ice Stream History and Behavior. Geological Society of America Today 11, 4–9.

Boulton, G.S., Hagdorn, M., Maillot, P.B. & Zatsepin, S., 2009. Drainage beneath ice sheets: groundwater-channel coupling, and the origin of esker system from former ice sheets. Quaternary Science Reviews 28, 621–638.

Clark, I., 2001. Practical Geostatistics. Geostokes Limited, Alloa, 119 pp.

Davis, J.C., 1986. Statistics and Data Analysis in Geology. John Wiley & Sons, New York, 646 pp.

Denton, G.H. & Hughes, T.J., 1981. The Arctic Ice Sheet: An outrageous hypothesis. [In:] G.H. Denton & T.J. Hughes (Eds): The Last Great Ice Sheets. Wiley, New York: 437–467.

Galon, R. & Roszkówna, L., 1961. Extents of the Scandinavian glaciations and of their recession stages on the territory of Poland in the light of analysis of the marginal forms of inland ice. Przegląd Geograficzny 33, 347–364.

Goldsztejn, P. & Skrzypek, G., 2004. Wykorzystanie metod interpolacji do numerycznego kreślenia map powierzchni geologicznych na podstawie nieregularnych danych [Applications of numeric interpolation methods to the geological surface mapping using irregularly spaced data]. Przegląd Geologiczny 52, 233–236.

Heine, K., Reuther, A.U., Thieke, H.U., Schulz, R., Schlaak, N. & Kubik, P.W., 2009. Timing of Weichselian ice marginal positions in Brandenburg (northeastern Germany) using cosmogenic in situ 10Be. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie 53, 433–454.

Hermanowski, P., 2007. Morfologia osadów podłoża zlodowacenia Wisły na obszarze polskiej części lobu Odry [Morphology of the Vistulain (Weichselian) glaciation substratum in the area of Polish part of the Odra lobe]. Przegląd Geologiczny 55, 133–139.

Hermanowski, P., 2010. Palaeoglaciology of the Weichselian Odra ice lobe, NE Germany and NW Poland. Landform Analysis 14, 12–24.

Hermanowski, P. & Piotrowski, J.A., 2007. Substratum morphology, ice thickness estimation and the location of tunnel valleys as proxies in the reconstruction of the dynamics of the Odra lobe during the Last Glaciation. Schriftenreihe der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften (Abstract-Volume) 53, 117.

Hermanowski, P. & Piotrowski, J.A., 2009. Drenaż subglacjalny i jego wpływ na dynamikę lobu Odry zlodowacenia Wisły [Subglacial drainage and its influence on the dynamics of the Weichselian Odla lobe]. Przegląd Geologiczny 57, 504–512.

Holmlund, P. & Fastook, J., 1993. Numerical modelling provides evidence of a Baltic Ice Stream during the Younger Dryas. Boreas 22, 77–86.

Hooke, R.LeB. & Jennings, C.E., 2006. On the formation of the tunnel valleys of the southern Laurentide ice sheet. Quaternary Science Reviews 25, 1364–1372.

Houmark-Nielsen, M., 2003. Signature and timing of the Kattegat Ice Stream: onset of the Last Glacial Maximum sequence at the southwestern margin of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet. Boreas 32, 227–241.

Houmark-Nielsen, M. & Kjær, K.H., 2003. Southwest Scandinavia, 40–15 kyr BP: palaeogeography and environmental change. Journal of Quaternary Science 18, 769–786.

Houmark-Nielsen, M. & Piotrowski, J.A., 2000. International Field Symposium on Quaternary Geology in Denmark (INQUA Commission on Glaciation; The Peribaltic Group), University of Aarhus, Excursion guide, 32 pp.

Jennings, C.E., 2006. Terrestrial ice streams – a view from the lobe. Geomorphology 75, 100–124.

Jørgensen, F. & Piotrowski, J.A., 2003. Signature of the Baltic Ice Stream on Funen Island, Denmark during the Weichselian glaciation. Boreas 32, 242–255.

Kalm, V., 2012. Ice-flow pattern and extent of the last Scandinavian Ice Sheet southeast of the Baltic Sea. Quaternary Science Reviews 44, 51–59.

Karczewski, A., 1968. Wpływ recesji lobu Odry na powstanie i rozwój sieci dolinnej Pojezierza Myśliborskiego i Niziny Szczecińskiej [Influence of the Odra Lobe recession upon the origin and development of the valleys net of Myślibórz Lakeland and Szczecin Lowland]. Prace Komisji Geograficzno-Geologicznej PTPN 8, 1–106.

Karczewski, A., 2001. Parseta lobe – Pomeranian Phase (Central Pomerania). [In:] J.A Piotrowski & W. Wysota (Eds): Drumlins: The unsolved problem – Field Excursion Guide Book, 6th International Drumlin Symposium, Nicholas Copernicus University, INQUA Commission on Glaciation, 88–90.

Keilhack, K., 1898. Die Stillstandslagen des letzten Inlandeises und die hydrgraphische Entwicklung des pommerschen Küstengebietes. Jarbuch der Preussischen Geologischen Landesanstalt und Bergakakademie 19, 90–152.

Lasberg, K. & Kalm, V., 2013. Chronology of the Late Weichselian glaciation in the western part of the East European Plain. Boreas 42, 995–1007.

Marks, L., 2002. Last Glacial Maximum in Poland. Quaternary Science Reviews 21, 103–110.

Marks, L., 2005. Pleistocene glacial limits in the territory of Poland. Przegląd Geologiczny 53, 988–993.

Mojski, J.E., 2005. Ziemie polskie w czwartorzędzie. Zarys morfogenezy [The area of Poland in Quaternary. Outline of morphogenesis]. Polish Geological Institute, Warszawa, 404 pp.

Piotrowski, J.A., 1994. Tunnel-valley formation in northwest Germany – geology, mechanisms of formation and subglacial bed condition for the Bornhöved tunnel valley. Sedimentary Geology 89, 107–141.

Piotrowski, J.A., 1997a. Subglacial groundwater flow during the last glaciation in northwestern Germany. Sedimentary Geology 111, 217–224.

Piotrowski, J.A., 1997b. Subglacial hydrology in north-western Germany during the last glaciation: groundwater flow, tunnel valleys and hydrogeological cycles. Quaternary Science Reviews 16, 169–185.

Piotrowski, J.A., Bartels, F., Salski, A. & Schmidt G., 1996. Geostatistical Regionalization of Glacial Aquitard Thickness In Northwestern Germany, Based on Fuzzy Kriging. Mathematical Geology, 28: 437–452.

Piotrowski, J.A., Hermanowski, P. & Piechota, A.M., 2009. Meltwater discharge through the subglacial bed and its land-forming consequences from numerical experiments in the Polish lowland during the last glaciation. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 34, 481–492.

Punkari, M., 1997. Glacial and glaciofluvial deposits in the interlobate areas of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet. Quaternary Science Reviews 16, 741–753.

Przybylski, B., 2008. Geomorphic traces of a Weichselian ice stream in the Wielkopolska Lowland, western Poland. Boreas 37, 286–296.

Rinterknecht, V., Braucher, R., Böse, M., Bourlès, D. & Mercier, J.-L., 2012. Late Quaternary ice sheet extents in northeastern Germany inferred from surface exposure dating. Quaternary Science Reviews 44, 89–95.

Smith, A.M. & Murray, T., 2009. Bedform topography and basal conditions beneath a fast-flowing West Antarctic ice stream. Quaternary Science Reviews 28, 584–596.

Stokes, C.R., Clark, C.D., Lian, O.B. & Tulaczyk, S., 2007. Ice stream sticky spots: A review of their identification and influence beneath contemporary and palaeo-ice streams. Earth Science Reviews 81, 217–249.

Szewczyk, J., Nowicki, Z. & Gientka, D., 2007. Występowanie głębokiej zmarzliny w okresie zlodowacenia Wisły na obszarze Niżu Polskiego – implikacje paleohydrogeologiczne oraz geotermiczne [Evaluation of the deep Vistulian permafrost on Polish Lowlands – geothermal and paleohydrogeological implications). Współczesne Problemy Hydrogeologii 13, 203–211.

Tulaczyk, S., Kamb, B. & Engelhardt, H.F., 2000. Basal mechanics of ice stream B, West Antarctica. I. Till mechanics. Journal of Geophysical Research 105, 463–482.

Walder, J.S., 1982. Stability of sheet flow of water beneath temperate glaciers and implications for glacier surging. Journal of Glaciology 28, 273–293.

Woldstedt, P., 1931. Über Randlagen der letzten Vereisung in Ostdeutchland und Polen und über die Herausbildung des Netze-Warthe Urstromtales. Jahrbuch der Preussischen Geologischen Landesanstalt 52, 59–67.

Wysota, W., 2007. Successive subglacial depositional processes as interpreted from basal tills in the Lower Vistula valley (N Poland). Sedimentary Geology 193, 21–31.