Subglacial imprints of early Gondwana break-up as identified from high resolution aerogeophysical data over western Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica
Determining the location and geometry of possible subglacial rifts in western Dronning Maud Land is a key element to address processes leading to early Gondwana break-up. However, previous geophysical investigations did not lead to unambiguous delineation of rift structures over this region. We interpret high-resolution airborne radar and aerogravity data to image subglacial rift structures. Subglacial topography, free-air and Bouguer gravity maps, coupled with 3D inverse gravity models, image a rift-rift-rift triple junction at the intersection of the Jutulstraumen ice stream and the Pencksökket glacier. These continental rifts were associated with alkaline and tholeiitic intrusions, minor dyke swarms and flood basalts of Jurassic age, but not with huge volumes of Karoo magmatism, such as that which characterizes the southern Africa conjugate margin. The western Dronning Maud Land triple junction may be linked to the Karoo mantle plume and represents an early stage of magmatism and rifting during Gondwana break-up.