Icequakes radiating from an ice-stream base provide insights into otherwise difficult to observe sub-kilometer-scale basal heterogeneity. We detect basal icequakes beneath an ∼3-km-wide seismic sensor network installed on the Whillans Ice Plain (WIP) in West Antarctica, and we use S-wave back-projection to detect and locate thousands of basal icequakes occurring over 14 and 21 days in January 2014 and 2015, respectively. We find flow-parallel streaks of basal icequakes beneath the WIP, which we conjecture are related to the presence of mega-scale glacial lineations (MSGLs) indicated by ice-penetrating radar, with at least one streak originating in a local trough adjacent to a MSGL. Patterned basal seismicity can be caused by systematic spatial variation in basal pore pressure, bed-material frictional properties, or both. We interpret these flow-parallel icequake streaks as being due to frictionally heterogeneous bed materials in the presence of a streamlined ice-stream bed: bedform ridges correspond to aseismic, high-porosity deforming till, and some troughs to ephemeral exposures of deeper, seismogenic material such as lodged till or older sediments or rocks. Our results are consistent with MSGL formation by either erosion in troughs to expose deeper seismogenic material, or deposition of aseismic high-porosity till in bedform highs. Our results also suggest that evolving subglacial geomorphology can impact basal traction by reorganizing the spatial distribution of basal materials with varying mechanical properties.

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