Late Quaternary glacial history constrains glacio-isostatic rebound in Enderby Land, East Antarctica

Authors


Abstract

Measurements of the loss or gain of ice mass from large ice sheets are presently achieved through satellite-based techniques such as GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment). The accuracy of these satellite-based measurements to changes in modern ice sheet mass depends on our knowledge of present-day glacio-isostatic crustal uplift rates caused by past ice sheet changes. To improve models of glacio-isostatic rebound in East Antarctica, we investigated ice histories along Rayner Glacier, Enderby Land, and a little explored sector of the ice sheet where GRACE data had suggested significant mass gain during the last decade. Observations from a recent glacial geomorphic reconnaissance coupled with cosmogenic nuclide dating indicate that in the lower part of the Rayner Glacier, Enderby Land, ice heights lowered by at least 300 m and the calving margin retreated by at least 10 km in the early Holocene (~6 to 9 ka B.P.). The magnitude and timing of deglaciation are consistent with ice histories used to model the postglacial rebound corrections for present-day GRACE mass trends. These observations strengthen the body of evidence that suggests ice mass gain in Enderby Land is presently partly offsetting mass loss in other parts of Antarctica.