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Surface morphology and internal layer stratigraphy in the downstream end of Kamb Ice Stream, West Antarctica

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Satellite images of Kamb Ice Stream (formerly Ice Stream C), West Antarctica, reveal several long, curved linear features (lineations) oriented sub-parallel to the ice-flow direction. We use ground-based radar to characterize the internal layer stratigraphy of these lineations and the terrains that they bound. Some lineations are relict ice-stream shear margins, identified by hyperbolic diffractors near the surface (interpreted to be buried crevasses) and highly disturbed internal layers at depth. Satellite images show another set of lineations outside the relict margins that wrap around the ends of the surrounding inter-ice-stream ridges. Internal layers beneath these lineations are downwarped strongly into a syncline shape. The internal stratigraphy of the terrain between these lineations and the relict margins is characterized by deep hyperbolic line diffractors. Our preferred hypothesis for the origin of this terrain is that it was floating sometime in the past; the deep hyperbolas are interpreted to be basal crevasses, and the strongly downwarped internal layers mark the position of a relict grounding line. Our study shows that lineations and intervening terrains have different internal layer characteristics implying different origins. Differentiation between these features is not possible using satellite images alone.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 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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