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Aerogeophysical evidence for active volcanism beneath the West Antarctic Ice SheetAlthough it is widely understood that the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) would cause a global sea-level rise of 6 m, there continues to be considerable debate about the response of this ice sheet to climate change. The stability of the WAIS, which is characterized by a bed grounded well below sea level, may depend on geologically controlled conditions at the base, which are independent of climate. Ice streams moving up to 750 m/yr disperse material from the interior through to the oceans. As these ice streams tend to buffer the reservoir of slow-moving inland ice from exposure to oceanic degradation, understanding the ice-streaming process is important for evaluating WAIS stability. There is strong evidence that ice streams slide on a lubricating layer of water-saturated till. Development of this basal layer requires both water and easily eroded sediments. Active lithospheric extension may elevate regional heat flux, increase basal melting, and trigger ice streaming. If a geologically defined boundary with a sharp contrast in geothermal flux exists beneath the WAIS, ice streams may only be capable of operating as a buffer over a restricted region. Should ocean waters penetrate beyond this boundary, the ice-stream buffer would disappear, possibly triggering a collapse of the inland ice reservoir. Aerogeophysical evidence for active volcanism and elevated heat flux beneath the WAIS near the critical region where ice streaming begins is presented.
Document ID
19930022706
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Blankenship, Donald D.
(Texas Univ. Austin, TX, United States)
Bell, Robin E.
(Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory Palisades, NY., United States)
Hodge, Steven M.
(Geological Survey Tacoma, WA., United States)
Brozena, John M.
(Naval Research Lab. Washington, DC., United States)
Behrendt, John C.
(Geological Survey Denver, CO., United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Goddard Space Flight Center, The First Annual West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Science Workshop
Subject Category
Geophysics
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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