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Scattering of VHF radio waves from within the top 700 m of the Antarctic ice sheet and its relation to the depositional environment: a case-study along the Syowa-Mizuho-Dome Fuji traverse

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Radio-wave scattering is a convenient method to image the properties of large internal regions of ice sheets. We used a ground-based radar system with short pulses of 60 and 179 MHz frequencies to scatter off internal strata within 100-700 m of the surface in the ice sheet of East Antarctica. Data were examined along an 1150 km long traverse line that was approximately along the ice flowline from inland of Dome Fuji station to the coast. The scattered waves are from strata, and the dominant cause of the scattering was changes in dielectric permittivity across the strata. Therefore, density fluctuations primarily cause the scattering, although variations in ice-crystal fabrics and acidity could also have effects. The power scattered from the same depths varied by >15dB from one location to another. These variations correlate with the accumulation rate, changes in the surface slope, and subglacial bedrock undulations. Variations of the scattered power suggest that density contrasts in the strata are highly variable depending on these interdependent local conditions. The distribution of strata along the route allowed estimates of the ice-flow trajectories to depths of about 250 m.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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