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Bed properties of Siple Dome and adjacent ice streams, West Antarctica, inferred from radio-echo sounding measurements

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We have used ground-based radio-echo sounding (RES) profiles to reveal the spatial distribution of basal and internal ice properties across Siple Dome, West Antarctica, and under the dormant ice streams on its flanks. The RES-detected bed-reflection power, corrected for the effects of instrumentation and ice-thickness variation, is nearly constant across Siple Dome at a value suggesting spatially homogeneous basal properties of ice frozen to bedrock. Till, if present under the dome, must be thin (<0.1m). The high basal reflectivity measured under now dormant "Siple Ice Stream'' (SIS) and Ice Stream C suggests that they are underlain by either a thin (< 0.05 m) water layer or a thick (> 1m) thawed or frozen till layer. The evidence that the dormant SIS is not frozen directly to underlying bedrock (but is separated by a water or till layer) is a further indication that it was once an active ice stream, and suggests that streaming motion may have ceased before the basal layer was frozen. The absence of a thick till layer beneath Siple Dome is consistent with its apparent stability as an inter-ice-stream ridge in the past and may suggest that it will remain as a stable limitation of ice-stream width in the future.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2000

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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