University Of Tasmania
136521 - Englacial drainage structures in an East Antarctic outlet glacier.pdf (1.46 MB)
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Englacial drainage structures in an East Antarctic outlet glacier

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 09:13 authored by Thomas SchaapThomas Schaap, Michael RoachMichael Roach, Peters, LE, Susan CookSusan Cook, Kulessa, B, Schoof, C
Ground-penetrating radar data acquired in the 2016/17 austral summer on Sørsdal Glacier, East Antarctica, provide evidence for meltwater lenses within porous surface ice that are conceptually similar to firn aquifers observed on the Greenland Ice Sheet and the Arctic and Alpine glaciers. These englacial water bodies are associated with a dry relict surface basin and consistent with perennial drainage into an interconnected englacial drainage system, which may explain a large englacial outburst flood observed in satellite imagery in the early 2016/17 melt season. Our observations indicate the rarely-documented presence of an englacial hydrological system in Antarctica, with implications for the storage and routing of surface meltwater. Future work should ascertain the spatial prevalence of such systems around the Antarctic coastline, and identify the degree of surface runoff redistribution and storage in the near surface, to quantify their impact on surface mass balance.


Publication title

Journal of Glaciology










School of Natural Sciences


Int Glaciol Soc

Place of publication

Lensfield Rd, Cambridge, England, Cb2 1Er

Rights statement

Copyright 2019 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts); Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences