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Borehole imagery of meteoric and marine ice layers in the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica

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A real-time video camera probe was deployed in a hot-water drilled borehole through the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, where a total ice thickness of 480 m included at least 200 m of basal marine ice. Down-looking and side-looking digital video footage showed a striking transition from white bubbly meteoric ice above to dark marine ice below, but the transition was neither microscopically sharp nor flat, indicating the uneven nature (at centimetre scale) of the ice-shelf base upstream where the marine ice first started to accrete. Marine ice features were imaged including platelet structures, cell inclusions, entrained particles, and the interface with sea water at the base. The cells are assumed to be entrained sea water, and were present throughout the lower 100–150 m of the marine ice column, becoming larger and more prevalent as the lower surface was approached until, near the base, they became channels large enough that the camera field of view could not contain them. Platelets in the marine ice at depth appeared to be as large as 1–2 cm in diameter. Particles were visible in the borehole meltwater; probably marine and mineral particles liberated by the drill, but their distribution varied with depth.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2005

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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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