Englacial architecture of Lambert Glacier, East Antarctica

The analysis of englacial layers using radio-echo sounding data enables the characterisation and reconstruction of current and past ice-sheet flow. Despite the Lambert Glacier catchment being one of the largest in Antarctica, discharging ∼16 % of East Antarctica's ice, its englacial architecture has been little analysed. Here, we present a comprehensive analysis of Lambert Glacier's englacial architecture using radio-echo sounding data collected by Antarctica's Gamburtsev Province Project (AGAP) North survey. We used an internal layering continuity index (ILCI) to characterise the internal architecture of the ice and identify four macro-scale ILCI zones with distinct glaciological contexts. Whilst the catchment is dominated by continuous englacial layering, disrupted or discontinuous layering is highlighted by the ILCI at both the onset of enhanced ice flow (defined here as >15 m a−1) and along the shear margin, suggesting a transition in englacial deformation conditions and converging ice flow. These zones are characterised by buckled and folded englacial layers which have fold axes aligned with the current ice-flow regime. These folds suggest that the flow direction of the Lambert Glacier trunk has changed little, if at all, during the Holocene. Disturbed englacial layers that do not correspond to modern ice-flow routing found within a deep subglacial channel, however, suggest that ice-flow change has occurred in a former tributary that fed Lambert Glacier from grid north. As large outlet systems such as Lambert Glacier are likely to play a vital role in the future drainage of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, constraining their englacial architecture to reconstruct their past ice flow and determine basal conditions is important for refining projections of future sea-level change.


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Authors: Sanderson, Rebecca J., Winter, Kate, Callard, S. Louise, Napoleoni, Felipe, Ross, Neil, Jordan, Tom A. ORCIDORCID record for Tom A. Jordan, Bingham, Robert G.

On this site: Tom Jordan
20 November, 2023
The Cryosphere / 17
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