Subglacial hydrological networks in Antarctica and their impact on ice flow
Abstract:Deep beneath the thick ice cover of the Antarctic continent there exist subglacial hydrological networks, within which basal meltwater can flow. In this paper, we use surface elevation data from European Remote-sensing Satellite radar altimetry to map these subglacial hydrological networks for the whole continent. We observe a confused pattern of subglacial systems, linking regions where basal melting takes place. In some regions, channels can be followed over some hundreds of kilometres. Some of these meet the ice-sheet margin, suggesting that meltwater can be transported all the way to the ocean. We observe an east–west gradient in the distribution of hydrological networks that could be explained by the geothermal flux pattern.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 2004
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