Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/tc-2016-141
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
15 Jul 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper for further review has not been submitted.
Possible groundwater dominance in the subglacial hydrology of ice sheet interiors: example at Dome C, East Antarctica
Brad T. Gooch1, Sasha P. Carter2, Omar Ghattas3, Duncan A. Young1, and Donald D. Blankenship1 1Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas, Austin, 78758, USA
2Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, 92037, USA
3Institute for Computational Engineering & Sciences, University of Texas, Austin, 78712, USA
Abstract. We hypothesize that groundwater systems may be the main water transport mechanism over (distributed, inefficient) water sheets at large scales in the interiors of ice sheets where melt rates are very low. We compare melt rate magnitudes to potential groundwater volume fluxes and also calculate the theoretical transmissivity ranges of subglacial water sheet and groundwater flow systems. Theoretical groundwater systems are on par with or are more transmissive than water sheets for the upper half of the permeability spectrum. In addition, we develop a 2D cross-sectional subglacial flow path model that connects subglacial lakes near Dome C, East Antarctica. This model integrates subglacial water sheet flux and hypothetical groundwater flow forcing, better bridging two historically disparate modeling frameworks – subglacial hydrology and ice sheet hydrogeology. Our model results suggest that the water sheet thickness can be highly dependent on groundwater flux and that the water sheet transmissivity is within the total range of the modeled groundwater system transmissivity. We infer from these results that subglacial lake stability and basal radar reflections underneath the interior of East Antarctica may possibly be affected by groundwater flow.

Citation: Gooch, B. T., Carter, S. P., Ghattas, O., Young, D. A., and Blankenship, D. D.: Possible groundwater dominance in the subglacial hydrology of ice sheet interiors: example at Dome C, East Antarctica, The Cryosphere Discuss., doi:10.5194/tc-2016-141, in review, 2016.
Brad T. Gooch et al.
Interactive discussionStatus: closed (peer review stopped)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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RC1: 'Subglacial groundwater in Antarctica', Anonymous Referee #1, 15 Aug 2016 Printer-friendly Version 
 
RC2: 'Interactive comment on “Possible groundwater dominance in the subglacial hydrology of ice sheet interiors: example at Dome C, East Antarctica” by Brad T. Gooch et al.', Anonymous Referee #2, 09 Sep 2016 Printer-friendly Version 
Brad T. Gooch et al.
Brad T. Gooch et al.

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Short summary
Our work investigates the potential significance of groundwater flow underneath the interior of East Antarctica where the ice doesn't rapidly melt. We attempt to describe the relationship between two hydrologic systems (water under the ice and in the ground) and how they might interact along a flow path between lakes under the ice. We find that groundwater is significant in regional water transport for melt water under the ice in areas of low melting in East Antarctica.
Our work investigates the potential significance of groundwater flow underneath the interior of...
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