Detecting rift basins in the Evans Ice Stream region of West Antarctica using airborne gravity data
A total of 11,500 line km of aerogravity data have been used to construct an free-air gravity anomaly map for the Antarctic region that may contain the microplate boundary between the Haag Nunataks block and southern Antarctic Peninsula. Along-line free-air gravity anomaly data resolved wavelengths of 9 km or greater with better than 5 mGal accuracy. Coincident radio echo soundings provided data to construct a digital terrain model. The gravity effect of the terrain was calculated by Gauss-Legendre quadrature (GLQ) and spectrally correlated with the free-air gravity data. Terrain-correlated free-air anomalies related to possible isostatic imbalances of the crust were separated from terrain-decorrelated anomalies that may reflect intra-crustal density contrasts. Subtracting terrain-correlated free-air anomalies from the gravity effects of the terrain yielded compensated terrain gravity effects (CTGE) that were used to model the Moho by inversion. The results indicate moderate but significant crustal thinning below the Evans Ice Stream that is consistent with an extensional origin for the deep, wide, steep-sided trough that contains the ice stream as well as the continued elevation of the footwall flank of the basin, Changes along the axis of the rift, both in the gravity anomaly field and the distribution of Moho topography, can be explained by processes associated with continental lithospheric extension. Subsequently, many of the features produced by extension have been modified by glacial erosion and the sub-ice topography and gravity data reflect this.
Authors: Jones, Philip C., Johnson, Ashley C., von Frese, Ralph R.B., Corr, Hugh