Contrasts in hydrology between regions of basal deformation and sliding beneath Rutford Ice Stream, West Antarctica, mapped using radar and seismic data

Authors


Abstract

[1] Spatially coincident radar and seismic data collected two weeks apart on Rutford Ice Stream were analyzed to investigate the mechanical and hydrological characteristics of the ice-bed interface. Seismic data allow the differentiation of bed deformation from basal sliding. In radar data, sliding regions are characterised by highly variable permittivity values. We suggest these regions are characterized by small water bodies, possibly a cavity system. In contrast, deforming regions are characterised by consistent, low permittivity, which suggests intimate ice-sediment contact without a distinct interface. However, in deforming regions we identified three bright radar features ∼50 m wide, consistent in lateral location over distances of 5–10 km up and downstream, and comprised of water less than ∼0.2 m deep. We interpret these as part of a water evacuation system, most likely canals. Our results emphasise the great potential of radar and seismic techniques in combination to infer basal conditions beneath ice streams.

Ancillary