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Ice stream subglacial access for ice-sheet history and fast ice flow: the BEAMISH Project on Rutford Ice Stream, West Antarctica and initial results on basal conditions

A. M. Smith, P. G. D. Anker, K. W. Nicholls, K. Makinson, Tavi Murray Orcid Logo, S. Rios-Costas, A. M. Brisbourne, D. A. Hodgson, REbecca Schlegel, S. Anandakrishnan

Annals of Glaciology, Volume: 62, Issue: 85-86, Pages: 203 - 211

Swansea University Authors: Tavi Murray Orcid Logo, REbecca Schlegel

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DOI (Published version): 10.1017/aog.2020.82

Abstract

Three holes were drilled to the bed of Rutford Ice Stream, through ice up to 2154 m thick, to investigate the basal processes and conditions associated with fast ice flow and the glacial history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. A narrative of the drilling, measuring and sampling activities, as well...

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Published in: Annals of Glaciology
ISSN: 0260-3055 1727-5644
Published: Cambridge University Press (CUP) 2021
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa56382
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Abstract: Three holes were drilled to the bed of Rutford Ice Stream, through ice up to 2154 m thick, to investigate the basal processes and conditions associated with fast ice flow and the glacial history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. A narrative of the drilling, measuring and sampling activities, as well as some preliminary results and initial interpretations of subglacial conditions, is given. These were the deepest subglacial access holes ever drilled using the hot-water drilling method. Samples of bed and englacial sediments were recovered, and a number of instruments were installed in the ice column and the bed. The ice–bed interface was found to be unfrozen, with an existing, well-developed subglacial hydrological system at high pressure, within ~1% of the ice overburden. The bed itself comprises soft, water-saturated sediments, consistent with previous geophysical interpretations. Englacial sediment quantity varies significantly between two locations ~2 km apart, and possibly over even shorter (~20 m) distances. Difficulties and unusual observations encountered while connecting to the subglacial hydrological system in one hole possibly resulted from the presence of a large clast embedded in the bottom of the ice.
Keywords: Antarctic glaciology; ice dynamics; ice streams; subglacial processes; subglacial sediments
College: College of Science
Funders: This study was funded by the NERC AFI award Nos. NE/G014159/1 and NE/G013187/1.
Issue: 85-86
Start Page: 203
End Page: 211