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The role of ice thickness and bed properties on the dynamics of the enhanced-flow tributaries of Bailey Ice Stream and Slessor Glacier, East Antarctica

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Airborne radio-echo sounding investigations in the upper reaches of Bailey Ice Stream and Slessor Glacier, Coats Land, East Antarctica, have shown that enhanced-flow tributaries are associated with well-defined areas of relatively thicker ice, and are separated from each other by areas of relatively thinner ice. A numerical modelling study has revealed that while internal ice deformation might account for all the observed flow in inter-tributary areas and the majority in the Slessor tributaries, a significant proportion of the flow of Bailey tributary is attributable to basal motion. Further, investigations of depth-corrected basal reflection power indicate that the bed underlying both Bailey and Slessor enhanced-flow tributaries is significantly smoother than in the slower-moving inter-tributary areas. It is thus proposed that enhanced motion within Bailey tributary (and also perhaps Slessor) may be facilitated by a reduction in basal roughness, caused by the accumulation of water and/or sediments within subglacial valleys, or by the erosion and smoothing of bed obstacles.

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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