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Unconformable stratigraphy in East Antarctica: Part II. Englacial cosets and recrystallized layers

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Complex unconformable englacial stratigraphy, including a segment of distinctive cosets of bed sequences, occurs throughout the thickness of a 3.2 MHz ice-sheet radar profile we acquired across the upper Byrd Glacier (East Antarctica) catchment. Some cosets span >10 km, are >100 m thick and are delineated by distinct horizons. At 40–90 m depth in firn, comparisons between 200 MHz and specially processed 3.2 MHz profiles reveal that the delineating horizons result from density-modified layers produced by decades to millennia of subaerial exposure, as detailed in our related paper (Part I). These comparisons, together with reflected waveforms at depth, also reveal that the modified layers retain their chemical stratification, and therefore the original unconformable surface. Two profile segments show high-amplitude transverse folds spanning much of the ice-sheet thickness. The parallel nature of most of them suggests basal sliding beneath long-term up-ice-flow accumulation zones, which we identify in satellite images as the likely sources for the cosets. The unconformable stratigraphy at depths greater than 2000 m shows that antidunal deposition and intense firn recrystallization zones have persisted for tens of thousands of years in this region of East Antarctica.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2012

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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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