INTRODUCTION

Highly indented fiord coastlines constitute a large proportion of the world's coastline. Fiords (Figure 7.1) are major sediment traps in the terrestrial to deep-sea sediment pathway, and the presence of these basins, landward of the continental shelf, suggests that adjacent shelves and deep-sea basins are presently largely deprived of terrestrial sediment. Based on an estimate of the total volume of later Quaternary (past 100 ka) sediments in fiords, compared to the flux of sediment effluxed from and to the sea during this same interval, fiords have retained 24 percent of the volume of marine sediment deposited over the past 100 ka (Syvitski et al., 1987a, pp. 10-11).

In the past two years, there have been several international symposia on glacial marine sediments and processes, and several major review papers have been published that seek to synthesize our knowledge of these processes and

FIGURE 7.1 LANDSAT image of the fiord coast of east Baffin Island, showing the sea ice breaking up (July 22, 1977) and the relatively restricted extent of local ice caps and glaciers.



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