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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 30 Jan 2019

Research article | 30 Jan 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Subglacial hydrological control on flow of an Antarctic Peninsula palaeo-ice stream

Robert D. Larter1, Kelly A. Hogan1, Claus-Dieter Hillenbrand1, James A. Smith1, Christine L. Batchelor2, Matthieu Cartigny3, Alex J. Tate1, James D. Kirkham1,2, Zoë A. Roseby4,1, Gerhard Kuhn5, Alastair G. C. Graham6, and Julian A. Dowdeswell2 Robert D. Larter et al.
  • 1British Antarctic Survey, Madingley Road, High Cross, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
  • 2Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1ER, UK
  • 3Department of Geography, South Road, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
  • 4Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton Waterfront Campus, European Way, Southampton SO14 3ZH, UK
  • 5Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz-Centre for Polar and Marine Research, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 6College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter EX4 4RJ, UK

Abstract. Basal hydrological systems play an important role in controlling the dynamic behaviour of ice streams. Data showing their morphology and relationship to geological substrates beneath modern ice streams are, however, sparse and difficult to collect. We present new multibeam bathymetry data that make the Anvers-Hugo Trough (AHT) west of the Antarctic Peninsula the most completely surveyed palaeo-ice stream pathways in Antarctica. We interpret landforms as indicating that subglacial water availability played an important role in facilitating ice stream flow and controlling shear margin positions. Water was likely supplied to the ice stream bed episodically as a result of outbursts from a subglacial lake located in the Palmer Deep basin on the inner continental shelf. These interpretations have implications for controls on the onset of fast ice flow, the dynamic behaviour of palaeo-ice streams on the Antarctic continental shelf, and potentially also for behaviour of modern ice streams.

Robert D. Larter et al.
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Robert D. Larter et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We present high-resolution bathymetry data that provide the most complete and detailed imagery of any Antarctic paleo-ice stream bed. These data show how subglacial water was delivered to and influenced the dynamic behavior of the ice stream. Our observations provide insights relevant to understanding the behavior of modern ice streams and forecasting the contributions that they will make to future sea-level rise.
We present high-resolution bathymetry data that provide the most complete and detailed imagery...