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Bedrock topography and wind erosion sites in East Antarctica: observations from the 2002 US-ITASE traverse

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Ice stratigraphy from deep-penetrating radar data collected during the 2002 US International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition (US-ITASE) traverse shows evidence of a significant erosion surface and drift-filled basin related to a previously undiscovered 1400 m subglacial mountain between Hercules Dome (87° 42′S, 108° W) and South Pole. The 3 MHz radar profile crosses three subglacial mountains at approximately 45° to the ice-flow direction. Cross-cutting reflectors in the top 500 m of ice stratigraphy are interpreted as angular unconformities resulting from wind erosion as the ice deforms over the mountain tops. The unconformities correlate locally with zones of high RADARSAT reflectivity. Several nearby sites with similar relatively high RADARSAT reflectivity adjacent to the traverse indicate that active wind erosion may be taking place at these locations as well. Based on the local correlation between surface wind scour and subglacial topography, we interpret the nearby cluster of bright RADARSAT reflectivity to indicate the presence of a small range of subglacial mountains. The ability to trace isochronal stratigraphy, associated with scour sites using shallow and deep radar, to nearby dated ice cores presents the possibility of exploiting wind-scour zones to access well-dated older ice with shallow-coring equipment.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2005

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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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