Evidence of a hydrological connection between the ice divide and ice sheet margin in the Aurora Subglacial Basin, East Antarctica

A. P. Wright, D. M. Schroeder, J. L. Bamber, J. A. Dowdeswell, N. W. Young, A. M. Le Brocq, A. J. Payne, D. D. Blankenship, T. D. van Ommen, M. J. Siegert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Subglacial hydrology in East Antarctica is poorly understood, yet may be critical to the manner in which ice flows. Data from a new regional airborne geophysical survey (ICECAP) have transformed our understanding of the topography and glaciology associated with the 287,000 km(2) Aurora Subglacial Basin in East Antarctica. Using these data, in conjunction with numerical ice sheet modeling, we present a suite of analyses that demonstrate the potential of the 1000 km-long basin as a route for subglacial water drainage from the ice sheet interior to the ice sheet margin. We present results from our analysis of basal topography, bed roughness and radar power reflectance and from our modeling of ice sheet flow and basal ice temperatures. Although no clear-cut subglacial lakes are found within the Aurora Basin itself, dozens of lake-like reflectors are observed that, in conjunction with other results reported here, support the hypothesis that the basin acts as a pathway allowing discharge from subglacial lakes near the Dome C ice divide to reach the coast via the Totten Glacier.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberF01033
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2012

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