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Modern to Glacial age subglacial meltwater drainage at Law Dome, coastal East Antarctica from topography, sediments and jökulhlaup observations

By
Ian D. Goodwin
Ian D. Goodwin
Marine Climate Risk Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University, New South Wales 2109 Australia
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Jason L. Roberts
Jason L. Roberts
Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Tasmania 7050, AustraliaAntarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
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David M. Etheridge
David M. Etheridge
Climate Science Centre, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Aspendale, Victoria 3195, Australia
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John Hellstrom
John Hellstrom
School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
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Andrew D. Moy
Andrew D. Moy
Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Tasmania 7050, AustraliaAntarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
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Marta Ribo
Marta Ribo
Marine Climate Risk Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University, New South Wales 2109 Australia
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Andrew M. Smith
Andrew M. Smith
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Lucas Heights, New South Wales 2234, Australia
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Published:
January 01, 2018

Abstract

Rare jökulhlaup events, also known as subglacial lake outburst flood events, have been observed at the Law Dome ice margin and provide an insight into the physical characteristics of subglacial meltwater and drainage. The subglacial topography based on data from the BEDMAP2 and ICECAP projects, together with subsurface transects of the ice margin obtained using ground-penetrating radar, reveal several lakes and lake-like depressions and the drainage pathways of two jökulhlaup events. Oxygen isotope typing of the meltwater during the most recent (2014) jökulhlaup event, combined with ice margin stratigraphy, enable the identification of ice tunnel melt pathways that exploit the 30–90° dipping basal ice layering. The presence of subglacial meltwater beneath Law Dome during the Holocene to Glacial periods is confirmed by the dendritic drainage pattern in the subglacial morphology and extensive layers of basal regelation ice and subglacial carbonate precipitate deposits found within the Løken Moraines sediments. These subglacial carbonates, including ooid layers, formed from the mixing of glacial meltwater and seawater at 72 ka BP. The combined evidence indicates that the ocean discharge of subglacial meltwater may be variable and/or is periodically blocked by basal freezing events near the ice sheet terminus.

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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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