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Basal freeze-on generates complex ice-sheet stratigraphy


Leysinger Vieli, G J-M C; Martin, C; Hindmarsh, R C A; Lüthi, Martin P (2018). Basal freeze-on generates complex ice-sheet stratigraphy. Nature Communications, 9:4669.

Abstract

Large, plume-like internal ice-layer-structures have been observed in radar images from both
Antarctica and Greenland, rising from the ice-sheet base to up to half of the ice thickness.
Their origins are not yet understood. Here, we simulate their genesis by basal freeze-on using numerical ice-flow modelling and analyse the transient evolution of the emerging ice-plume and the surrounding ice-layer structure as a function of both freeze-on rate and ice flux. We find good agreement between radar observations, modelled ice-plume geometry and internal layer structure, and further show that plume height relates primarily to ice-flux and only
secondarily to freeze-on. An in-depth analysis, performed for Northern Greenland of observed spatial plume distribution related to ice flow, basal topography and water availability supports our findings regarding ice flux and suggests freeze-on is controlled by ascending subglacial water flow. Our results imply that widespread basal freeze-on strongly affects ice stratigraphy and consequently ice-core interpretations.

Abstract

Large, plume-like internal ice-layer-structures have been observed in radar images from both
Antarctica and Greenland, rising from the ice-sheet base to up to half of the ice thickness.
Their origins are not yet understood. Here, we simulate their genesis by basal freeze-on using numerical ice-flow modelling and analyse the transient evolution of the emerging ice-plume and the surrounding ice-layer structure as a function of both freeze-on rate and ice flux. We find good agreement between radar observations, modelled ice-plume geometry and internal layer structure, and further show that plume height relates primarily to ice-flux and only
secondarily to freeze-on. An in-depth analysis, performed for Northern Greenland of observed spatial plume distribution related to ice flow, basal topography and water availability supports our findings regarding ice flux and suggests freeze-on is controlled by ascending subglacial water flow. Our results imply that widespread basal freeze-on strongly affects ice stratigraphy and consequently ice-core interpretations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Physics and Astronomy, General Chemistry
Language:English
Date:1 December 2018
Deposited On:22 Nov 2018 11:43
Last Modified:22 Nov 2018 11:45
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2041-1723
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-07083-3

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