Rapid subglacial erosion beneath Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica

A. M. Smith*, C. R. Bentley, R. G. Bingham, T. A. Jordan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We present measurements of ice thickness, gravimetry and surface elevation on Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica, separated by a period of 49 years. At one station, on the main trunk of the glacier we measured a surface elevation lowering with no significant change in ice thickness. We interpret these as indicating subglacial erosion of 31.8 +/- 13.4 m at this location, at a mean rate over the measurement period of 0.6 +/- 0.3 m a(-1), and suggest that a current erosion rate of similar to 1 m a(-1) is possible. Our results emphasize that locally, basal processes can have a significant effect on ice sheet changes, particularly where fast-flowing ice has an easily erodible bed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL12501
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume39
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2012

Keywords

  • ICE STREAM
  • SEISMIC OBSERVATIONS
  • SHEET
  • RATES
  • THICKNESS
  • BAY

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Rapid subglacial erosion beneath Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this