Application of the Handysurf E-35B electronic profilometer for the study of weathering micro-relief in glacier forelands in SE Iceland

Maciej Dąbski


This article presents the results of weathering micro-roughness measurements performed with the use of a Handysurf E-35B electronic profilometer, a new tool in geomorphological studies. Measurements were performed on glacially abraded basaltic surfaces within the Little Ice Age (LIA) glacial forelands of Hoffelsjökull, Fláajökull, Skálafellsjökull and Virkisjökull in Iceland. Results show a statistical increase in micro-roughness in a direction from the glacial termini to LIA moraines. However, a major change in the micro-roughness of basaltic surfaces only occurs during the first 80 to 100 years since the onset of subaerial weathering. Increase in rock surface micro-roughness is accompanied by an increase in weathering rind thickness and a decrease in Schmidt hammer R-values. Micro-roughness measurements with the use of the Handysurf E-35B can provide insights into initial rates of rock surface micro-relief development. The use of this instrument as a relative dating technique is limited to fine-grained rocks and decadal time-scales of weathering because of the limited range of measureable micro-relief amplitude.


Rock surface micro-roughness; Electronic profilometer; Schmidt hammer; Weathering rinds; Weathering micro-relief; Basalts; Iceland.

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