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Fracture propagation to the base of the Greenland ice sheet during supraglacial lake drainage
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-17, 15:21 authored by Das, SB, Joughin, I, Behn, MD, Howat, IM, Matt KingMatt King, Lizarralde, D, Bhatia, MP
Surface meltwater that reaches the base of an ice sheet creates a mechanism for the rapid response of ice flow to climate change. The process whereby such a pathway is created through thick, cold ice has not, however, been previously observed. We describe the rapid (<2 hours) drainage of a large supraglacial lake down 980 meters through to the bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet initiated by water-driven fracture propagation evolving into moulin flow. Drainage coincided with increased seismicity, transient acceleration, ice-sheet uplift, and horizontal displacement. Subsidence and deceleration occurred over the subsequent 24 hours. The short-lived dynamic response suggests that an efficient drainage system dispersed the meltwater subglacially. The integrated effect of multiple lake drainages could explain the observed net regional summer ice speedup.
Department/SchoolSchool of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences
PublisherAmer Assoc Advancement Science
Place of publication1200 New York Ave, Nw, Washington, USA, Dc, 20005