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Bed reflectivity beneath inactive ice streams in West Antarctica

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Radio-echo sounding (RES) techniques are used to examine spatial changes in bed reflectivity across relict ice streams in West Antarctica. Measurements from adjacent interstream ridges are used to correct the measured power returned from the bed for attenuation and losses due to geometric spreading, scattering and absorption. RES measurements near boreholes drilled on Ice Stream C (ISC) indicate high coefficients of bed reflectivity (R > 0.1) in locations where the bed was thawed and boreholes connected to the basal water system, and low reflectivity coefficients (R < 0.02) at locations that were frozen and not connected. Intermediate values of bed reflectivity were measured at locations where the connection to the basal water system was weak. Measurements across four relict margins show that bed reflectivity usually jumps from low to high values several kilometers inside the outermost buried crevasses.We interpret this to be a transition from frozen to thawed basal conditions and discuss implications of these observations.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-01-01

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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.

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