Rapid subglacial erosion beneath Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica

We present measurements of ice thickness, gravimetry and surface elevation on Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica, separated by a period of 49 years. At one station, on the main trunk of the glacier we measured a surface elevation lowering with no significant change in ice thickness. We interpret these as indicating subglacial erosion of 31.8 ± 13.4 m at this location, at a mean rate over the measurement period of 0.6 ± 0.3 m a−1, and suggest that a current erosion rate of ∼1 m a−1is possible. Our results emphasize that locally, basal processes can have a significant effect on ice sheet changes, particularly where fast-flowing ice has an easily erodible bed.


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Authors: Smith, A.M. ORCIDORCID record for A.M. Smith, Bentley, C.R., Bingham, R.G., Jordan, T.A. ORCIDORCID record for T.A. Jordan

On this site: Andy Smith, Tom Jordan
28 June, 2012
Geophysical Research Letters / 39
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