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Flow dynamics of the Rutford Ice Stream ice-drainage basin, West Antarctica, from radar stratigraphy

By Edward C. King

Abstract

Rutford Ice Stream, West Antarctica, drains a catchment of >45 000 km(2) into the Ronne Ice Shelf through a 26 km wide, 2.4 km deep subglacial trough adjacent to the Ellsworth Mountains. Forty-two per cent of its catchment boundary is common with Pine Island Glacier, where rapid change to ice dynamics is currently underway. These changes may eventually affect adjacent catchments such as Rutford. Radar sounding data were acquired over the Rutford ice-drainage basin that show the internal structure. In particular, distinctive reflector groups were identified that mark the boundaries between four different flow elements. The flow-margin reflector groups include curvilinear events that cross-cut isochrones and are therefore likely to be post-depositional. These reflections may arise from crystal orientation fabrics generated by localized strain in a flow margin. One of the sectors of the ice-drainage basin supplies the largest share (38%) of the ice volume flux through the main trunk of Rutford Ice Stream. This sector may be preferentially affected by continuing surface lowering in the Pine Island Glacier catchment

Topics: Glaciology, Earth Sciences
Publisher: International Glaciological Society
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:11105

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