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Evidence for subglacial ponding across Taylor Glacier, Dry Valleys, Antarctica

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Ice-penetrating radar and modelling data are presented suggesting the presence of a zone of temperate ice, water ponding or saturated sediment beneath the tongue of Taylor Glacier, Dry Valleys, Antarctica. The proposed subglacial zone lies 3–6 km up-glacier of the terminus and is 400–1000 m across. The zone coincides with an extensive topographic overdeepening to 80 m below sea level. High values of residual bed reflective power across this zone compared to other regions and the margins of the glacier require a high dielectric contrast between the ice and the bed and are strongly indicative of the presence of basal water or saturated sediment. Analysis of the hydraulic equipotential surface also indicates strong convergence into this zone of subglacial water flow paths. However, thermodynamic modelling reveals that basal temperatures in this region could not exceed −7°C relative to the pressure-melting point. Such a result is at odds with the radar observations unless the subglacial water is a hypersaline brine.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-06-01

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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.

    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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