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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-217
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-217
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 15 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 15 Oct 2019

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

Aerogeophysical characterization of an active subglacial lake system in the David Glacier catchment, Antarctica

Laura E. Lindzey1,2,a, Lucas H. Beem3, Duncan A. Young1, Enrica Quartini1,2,b, Donald D. Blankenship1,3, Choon-Ki Lee4, Won Sang Lee4, Jong Ik Lee5, and Joohan Lee6 Laura E. Lindzey et al.
  • 1University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
  • 2Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
  • 3Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, USA
  • 4Unit of Ice Sheet and Sea Level Changes, Korea Polar Research Institute, Incheon 21990, South Korea
  • 5Unit of Antarctic K-route Expedition, Korea Polar Research Institute, Incheon, 21990, South Korea
  • 6Department of Polar Technology, Korea Polar Research Institute, Incheon 21990, South Korea
  • anow at: Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA
  • bnow at: Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Abstract. In the 2016–2017 austral summer, the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG) and the Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI) collaborated to perform a helicopter-based radar and laser altimeter survey of lower David Glacier with the goals of characterizing the subglacial water distribution that supports a system of active subglacial lakes and informing the site selection for a potential subglacial access drilling project. This survey overlaps with and expands upon an earlier survey of the Drygalski Ice Tongue and the David Glacier grounding zone from 2011 and 2012 to create a 5 km resolution survey extending 200 km upstream from the grounding zone. The surveyed region covers two active subglacial lakes and includes re-flights of ICESat ground tracks that extend the surface elevation record in the region. While this is not the first aerogeophysical survey of an active lake system, it is one of the most extensive, and provides higher resolution boundary conditions and basal characterizations that will enable process studies of these features. This paper introduces a new helicopter-mounted ice-penetrating radar and laser altimetry system; notes a discrepancy between the original surface-elevation-derived lake outlines and locations of possible water collection based on basal geometry and hydraulic potential; and presents radar- based observations of basal conditions that are inconsistent with large collections of ponded water, despite laser altimetry showing that the hypothesized active lakes are at a high-stand.

Laura E. Lindzey et al.
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Short summary
An extensive aerogeophysical survey including two active subglacial lakes was conducted over David Glacier, Antarctica. Laser altimetry shows that the lakes were at a high stand while ice penetrating radar has no unique signature for the lakes when compared to the broader basal environment. This suggests that active subglacial lakes are more likely to be part of a distributed subglacial hydrological system than to be discrete reservoirs, which has implications for future survey and drilling.
An extensive aerogeophysical survey including two active subglacial lakes was conducted over...
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