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.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface|
|Publication status||Published - 23 Mar 2012|