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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-2019-245
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-245
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 07 Nov 2019

Submitted as: research article | 07 Nov 2019

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

Large-scale englacial folding and deep-ice stratigraphy within the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Neil Ross1, Hugh Corr2, and Martin Siegert3 Neil Ross et al.
  • 1School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University, UK
  • 2British Antarctic Survey, High Cross, Cambridge, UK
  • 3Grantham Institute and Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London, UK

Abstract. It has been hypothesized that complex englacial structures identified within the East Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are generated by: (i) water freezing to the ice-sheet base, evolving under ice flow; (ii) deformation of ice of varying rheology; or (iii) entrainment of basal material. Using ice-penetrating radar, we identify a widespread complex of deep-ice facies in West Antarctica that exist in the absence of basal water. These deep-ice units are extensive, thick (> 500 m), and incorporate multiple highly reflective englacial layers. At the lateral margin of an enhanced flow tributary of the Institute Ice Stream, these units are heavily deformed and folded by the action of lateral flow convergence. Radar reflectivity analysis demonstrates that the uppermost reflector of the deep-ice package is highly anisotropic, representative of ice with a strong preferred crystal fabric and, consequently, will have a different rheology to the ice above and below it. Deformation and folding of the deep-ice package is an englacial response to the combination of laterally-convergent ice flow and the physical properties of the ice column.

Neil Ross et al.
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Synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) processed airborne radio-echo sounding data from the Institute and Moller ice streams, West Antarctica, 2010-11 M. Siegert, H. Jeofry, H. Corr, N. Ross, T. Jordan, F. Ferraccioli, R. Bingham, A. Le Brocq, D. Rippin, and C. Robinson https://doi.org/10.5285/8a975b9e-f18c-4c51-9bdb-b00b82da52b8

Neil Ross et al.
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Short summary
Using airborne ice-penetrating radar we investigated the physical properties and structure of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Ice deep beneath the Institute Ice Stream has prominent layers with physical properties distinct from those around them, and which are heavily folded like geological layers. In turn, these folds influence the present-day flow of the ice sheet, with implications for how computer models are used to simulate ice sheet flow and behaviour in a warming world.
Using airborne ice-penetrating radar we investigated the physical properties and structure of...
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