Drainage and refill of an Antarctic Peninsula subglacial lake
reveal an active subglacial hydrological network
The presence of subglacial lakes and subglacial hydrological networks under the East and West Antarctic ice sheets is now relatively well understood, whilst their influence on ice dynamics is the subject of ongoing research. In contrast, little is known about subglacial lakes and hydrological networks under the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet and how these are influencing glacier behaviour. Here we describe the rapid drainage and slow refill of a subglacial lake under Mars Glacier using remote sensing and aerogeophysics. Results suggest drainage of the subglacial lake occurred prior to 2011, resulting in the collapse of the overlying ice into the newly formed subglacial cavity. The cavity has been refilling since this time, with peak rates of infilling associated with seasonal surface meltwater activity. We review evidence for similar features elsewhere in the Antarctic Peninsula and discuss whether their appearance marks a threshold shift in glacier thermal regimes and the activation or enhancement of their subglacial hydrological networks by surface meltwater. Collectively, these features show coupling of climate processes and the bed of the region's glaciers highlighting their ongoing vulnerability to climate change.
Authors: Hodgson, Dominic A. ORCID record for Dominic A. Hodgson, Jordan, Tom A. ORCID record for Tom A. Jordan, Ross, Neil ORCID record for Neil Ross, Riley, Teal R. ORCID record for Teal R. Riley, Fretwell, Peter ORCID record for Peter Fretwell