Subglacial hydrological control on flow of an Antarctic Peninsula palaeo-ice stream
Basal hydrological systems play an important role in controlling the dynamic behaviour of ice streams. Data showing their morphology and relationship to geological substrates beneath modern ice streams are, however, sparse and difficult to collect. We present new multibeam bathymetry data that make the Anvers-Hugo Trough west of the Antarctic Peninsula the most completely surveyed palaeo-ice stream pathway in Antarctica. The data reveal a diverse range of landforms, including streamlined features where there was fast flow in the palaeo-ice stream, channels eroded by flow of subglacial water, and compelling evidence of palaeo-ice stream shear margin locations. We interpret landforms as indicating that subglacial water availability played an important role in facilitating ice stream flow and controlling shear margin positions. Water was likely supplied to the ice stream bed episodically as a result of outbursts from a subglacial lake located in the Palmer Deep basin on the inner continental shelf. These interpretations have implications for controls on the onset of fast ice flow, the dynamic behaviour of palaeo-ice streams on the Antarctic continental shelf, and potentially also for behaviour of modern ice streams.
Authors: Larter, Robert D., Hogan, Kelly A., Hillenbrand, Claus-Dieter, Smith, James A., Batchelor, Christine L., Cartigny, Matthieu, Tate, Alex J., Kirkham, James D., Roseby, Zoë A., Kuhn, Gerhard, Graham, Alastair G.C., Dowdeswell, Julian A