Rapid erosion, drumlin formation, and changing hydrology beneath an Antarctic ice stream

A. M. Smith, T. Murray, K. W. Nicholls, K. Makinson, G. Adalgeirsdóttir, A. E. Behar, D. G. Vaughan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

147 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

What happens beneath a glacier affects the way it flows and the landforms left behind when it retreats. Direct observations from beneath glaciers are, however, rare and the subglacial environment remains poorly understood. We present new, repeat observations from West Antarctica that show active processes beneath a modern glacier which can normally only be postulated from the geological record. We interpret erosion at a rate of 1 m a-1 beneath a fast-flowing ice stream, followed by cessation of erosion and the formation of a drumlin from mobilized sediment. We also interpret both mobilization and increased compaction of basal sediment with associated hydrological changes within the glacier bed. All these changes occurred on time scales of a few years or less. This variability suggests that an ice stream can reorganize its bed rapidly, and that present models of ice dynamics may not simulate all the relevant subglacial processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-130
Number of pages4
JournalGeology
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

drumlin
ice stream
glacier
hydrology
erosion
subglacial environment
hydrological change
geological record
sediment
landform
mobilization
compaction
timescale
ice

Keywords

  • Drumlins
  • Erosion
  • Ice streams
  • Subglacial environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

Cite this

Smith, A. M., Murray, T., Nicholls, K. W., Makinson, K., Adalgeirsdóttir, G., Behar, A. E., & Vaughan, D. G. (2007). Rapid erosion, drumlin formation, and changing hydrology beneath an Antarctic ice stream. Geology, 35(2), 127-130. https://doi.org/10.1130/G23036A.1

Rapid erosion, drumlin formation, and changing hydrology beneath an Antarctic ice stream. / Smith, A. M.; Murray, T.; Nicholls, K. W.; Makinson, K.; Adalgeirsdóttir, G.; Behar, A. E.; Vaughan, D. G.

In: Geology, Vol. 35, No. 2, 02.2007, p. 127-130.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Smith, AM, Murray, T, Nicholls, KW, Makinson, K, Adalgeirsdóttir, G, Behar, AE & Vaughan, DG 2007, 'Rapid erosion, drumlin formation, and changing hydrology beneath an Antarctic ice stream', Geology, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 127-130. https://doi.org/10.1130/G23036A.1
Smith AM, Murray T, Nicholls KW, Makinson K, Adalgeirsdóttir G, Behar AE et al. Rapid erosion, drumlin formation, and changing hydrology beneath an Antarctic ice stream. Geology. 2007 Feb;35(2):127-130. https://doi.org/10.1130/G23036A.1
Smith, A. M. ; Murray, T. ; Nicholls, K. W. ; Makinson, K. ; Adalgeirsdóttir, G. ; Behar, A. E. ; Vaughan, D. G. / Rapid erosion, drumlin formation, and changing hydrology beneath an Antarctic ice stream. In: Geology. 2007 ; Vol. 35, No. 2. pp. 127-130.
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