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Englacial architecture and age-depth constraints across the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

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Original languageEnglish
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Early online date2 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Mar 2020


The englacial stratigraphic architecture of internal‐reflection horizons (IRHs) as imaged by ice‐penetrating radar (IPR) across ice sheets reflects the cumulative effects of surface mass balance, basal melt and ice flow. IRHs, considered isochrones, have typically been traced in interior, slow‐flowing regions. Here, we identify three distinctive IRHs spanning the Institute and Möller catchments that cover 50% of West Antarctica's Weddell Sea Sector and are characterised by a complex system of ice‐stream tributaries. We place age constraints on IRHs through their intersections with previous geophysical surveys tied to Byrd Ice Core, and by age‐depth modeling. We further show where the oldest ice likely exists within the region; and that Holocene ice‐dynamic changes were limited to the catchment's lower reaches. The traced IRHs from this study have clear potential to nucleate a wider continental‐scale IRH database for validating ice‐sheet models.

ID: 137633215