• Satellite geodesy;
  • Satellite gravity;
  • Glaciology;
  • Antarctica


Based on the Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) laser altimetry data, the hydrostatic equilibrium (HE) condition for the subglacial Lake Vostok, East Antarctica, is evaluated. A digital elevation model (DEM) of the ice surface is derived by a regional crossover adjustment. The analysis of the DEM and its comparison with GPS derived ice-surface elevations and an ice-surface DEM based on radar altimetry data reveal an overall accuracy of better than ± 0.7  m for the lake area. The DEM is combined with an ice-thickness model and a regional geoid model to determine the deviation of the local ice-surface height from HE. For large parts of the lake, the ice sheet fulfils the HE. Our results reveal a strong positive deviation of about 10  m along the lake shoreline. In addition, positive deviations are found in the northern part of the lake which coincide with ice rumples detected by radio-echo sounding. In the southern part of the lake, we find a linear negative deviation (−4.0  m) which coincides with the convoy route from Vostok station to Mirny base. In addition to the DEM, relative biases for the ICESat laser operational periods are determined in the regional crossover adjustment.