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Ice-flow reorganization within the East Antarctic Ice Sheet deep interior

By
L. H. Beem
L. H. Beem
University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758, USA
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M. G. P. Cavitte
M. G. P. Cavitte
University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758, USA
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D. D. Blankenship
D. D. Blankenship
University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758, USA
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S. P. Carter
S. P. Carter
Institute of Geophysics and Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
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D. A. Young
D. A. Young
University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758, USA
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G. R. Muldoon
G. R. Muldoon
University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758, USA
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C. S. Jackson
C. S. Jackson
University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758, USA
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M. J. Siegert
M. J. Siegert
Grantham Institute and Department of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Imperial College London, South Kensington, London SW7 2AZ, UK
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Published:
January 01, 2018

Abstract

Near the South Pole, a large subglacial lake exists beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet less than 10 km from where the bed temperature is inferred to be −9°C. A thermodynamic model was used to investigate the apparent contradiction of basal water existing in the vicinity of a cold bed. Model results indicate that South Pole Lake is freezing and that neither present-day geothermal flux nor ice flow is capable of producing the necessary heat to sustain basal water at this location. We hypothesize that the lake comprises relict water formed during a different configuration of ice dynamics when significant frictional heating from ice sliding was available. Additional modelling of assumed basal sliding shows frictional heating was capable of producing the necessary heat to fill South Pole Lake. Independent evidence of englacial structures measured by airborne radar revel ice-sheet flow was more dynamic in the past. Ice sliding is estimated to have ceased between 16.8 and 10.7 ka based on an ice chronology from a nearby borehole. These findings reveal major post-Last Glacial Maximum ice-dynamic change within the interior of East Antarctica, demonstrating that the present interior ice flow is different than that under full glacial conditions.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Exploration of Subsurface Antarctica: Uncovering Past Changes and Modern Processes

M. J. Siegert
M. J. Siegert
Imperial College London, UK
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S. S. R. Jamieson
S. S. R. Jamieson
Durham University, UK
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D. A. White
D. A. White
University of Canberra, Australia
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The Geological Society of London
Volume
461
ISBN electronic:
9781786203427
Publication date:
January 01, 2018

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