The glacial geomorphology of the Antarctic ice-sheet bed

Stewart S.R. Jamieson, Chris R. Stokes, Neil Ross, David M. Rippin, Robert G. Bingham, Douglas S. Wilson, Martin Margold, Michael J. Bentley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In 1976 David Sugden and Brian John developed a classification of Antarctic landscapes of glacial erosion based upon exposed and eroded coastal topography, providing insight into the past glacial dynamics of the Antarctic Ice Sheets. We extend this classification to cover the continental interior of Antarctica by analysing the hypsometry of the subglacial landscape using a recently released dataset of bed topography (BEDMAP2). We use the existing classification as a basis for first developing a low-resolution description of landscape evolution under the ice sheet before using this to build a more detailed classification of patterns of glacial erosion. Our key findings are that a more widespread distribution of ancient, preserved alpine landscapes may survive beneath the Antarctic ice sheets than has been previously recognised. Furthermore, landscapes of selective erosion are suggested to exist further inland than might be expected, and may reflect the presence of thinner, less
extensive ice in the past. Much of the selective nature of erosion may be controlled by preglacial topography, and especially by the large-scale tectonic structure and fluvial valley network. The hypotheses of landscape evolution presented here can be tested by future surveys of the Antarctic Ice Sheet bed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)724-741
JournalAntarctic science
Volume26
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Antarctica
  • Cenozoic
  • galcial erosion
  • ice sheet history
  • landscape evolution
  • morphometry

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