Hydrological connections between Antarctic subglacial lakes and the flow of water beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet

MJ Siegert, Brocq A.M. Le, AJ Payne

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

Abstract

Subglacial lakes are commonly referred to as unique environments isolated for millions of years. The recent detection of a rapid transmission of water between subglacial lakes indicates, however, that these environments may be connected hydrologically and that sporadic discharge of lake water may be an expected process. Knowledge of this flow at a continental scale is important to understanding habitats provided by subglacial lakes, the potential routes by which stored basal water can be exported to the ice margin and the development of glacial-fluvial landforms. Here, an assessment of Antarctic subglacial water flow-paths is presented, based on hydro-potential gradients derived from basal and ice surface topographies. The assessment reveals that most subglacial lakes around Dome C are likely to be linked. One flow-path in particular connects >10 lakes located within adjacent topographic valleys, including Lake Concordia and Lake Vincennes. Subglacial water at Dome C has the potential to flow to the ocean, as the ice base is warm continuously between the ice divide and the margin. Such flow is likely to be organised into distinct drainage basins, in which water is routed to the proglacial zone through only a small number of outlets, which potentially has a strong influence on the development of sedimentary landforms.
Translated title of the contributionHydrological connections between Antarctic subglacial lakes and the flow of water beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlacial Sedimentary Processes and Products
EditorsMJ Hambrey, P Christoffersen, NF Glasser, B. Hubbard
PublisherInternational Association of Sedimentologists
Pages3 - 10
ISBN (Print)9781405183000
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Other identifier: Special Publication No. 39

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