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Radar-detected englacial debris in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

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Title: Radar-detected englacial debris in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet
Authors: Winter, K
Woodward, J
Ross, N
Dunning, S
Hein, A
Westoby, M
Culberg, R
Marrero, S
Schroeder, D
Sugden, D
Siegert, M
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Structural glaci‐geological processes can entrain basal sediment into ice, leading to its transportation and deposition downstream. Sediments potentially rich in essential nutrients, like silica and iron, can thus be transferred from continental sources to the ocean, where deposition could enhance marine primary productivity. However, a lack of data has limited our knowledge of sediment entrainment, transfer and distribution in Antarctica, until now. We use ice‐penetrating radar to examine englacial sediments in the Weddell Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Radargrams reveal englacial reflectors on the lee side of nunataks and subglacial highlands, where Mie scattering analysis of the reflectors suggests particle sizes consistent with surface moraine sediments. We hypothesize that these sediments aare entrained at the thermal boundary between cold and warm‐based ice. Conservative estimates of >130 x109 kg of englacial sediment in Horseshoe Valley alone suggest that the ice sheet has significant entrainment potential unappreciated previously.
Issue Date: 1-Sep-2019
Date of Acceptance: 21-Aug-2019
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/72891
DOI: 10.1029/2019GL084012
ISSN: 0094-8276
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Start Page: 10454
End Page: 10462
Journal / Book Title: Geophysical Research Letters
Volume: 46
Issue: 17-18
Copyright Statement: ©2019. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Sponsor/Funder: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
British Council (UK)
Funder's Grant Number: NE/K004956/2
NE/G00465X/3
GEOG.RE2356
ICECAP-2
Keywords: Science & Technology
Physical Sciences
Geosciences, Multidisciplinary
Geology
radio echo sounding
ground-penetrating radar
West Antarctic Ice Sheet
sediment transfer
debris entrainment
blue ice areas
ELLSWORTH MOUNTAINS
LATE PLEISTOCENE
CLIMATE RECORD
PATRIOT HILLS
WEDDELL SEA
STREAM
EVOLUTION
MORAINES
BED
Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences
Publication Status: Published
Online Publication Date: 2019-08-26
Appears in Collections:Centre for Environmental Policy
Faculty of Natural Sciences



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