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Evidence of past fluctuations on Stancomb-Wills Ice Tongue, Antarctica, preserved by relict flow stripes

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This paper presents a newly derived velocity field of the Brunt Ice Shelf and Stancomb-Wills Ice Tongue in East Antarctica. Velocity is derived using automated feature-tracking techniques on RADARSAT-1 imagery from the 1997 Antarctic Mapping Mission-1 (AMM-1) and 2000 Modified Antarctic Mapping Mission (MAMM). We measure velocities up to 1350 m a−1 at the ice front. Closer investigation of the velocity field and radar images reveals an obvious divergence of contemporary flowlines from relict flow stripes along a portion of Stancomb-Wills Ice Tongue. Analysis of relict flow stripes can reveal glacial events in the past. Assuming relatively steady flow since the event occurred, we utilize the current velocity field to reconstruct former stripe configuration. We believe the flowline deviation points to a change in dynamics that occurred approximately 140 years ago, perhaps due to thinning and an associated shift in grounding-line position. This seems to be supported by historic observations and bottom topography data.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2009

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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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