Ice sheet retreat dynamics inferred from glacial morphology of the central Pine Island Bay Trough, West Antarctica
2012 (English)In: Quaternary Science Reviews, ISSN 0277-3791, Vol. 38, 1-10 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Pine Island Glacier drains portions of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet into the Amundsen Sea. During the Last Glacial Maximum the glacier extended nearly 500 km from its present location onto the outer continental shelf. Unusually restricted sea-ice cover during the austral summer of 2010 allowed for a systematic multibeam swath-bathymetric and chirp sonar survey of the mid-shelf section of Pine Island Trough. The mapped glacial landforms reveal new information about the paleo-Pine Island Ice Stream's dynamic retreat from the mid-shelf area and confirm previous suggestion of a retreat in distinct steps. The periods of grounding line stability during the overall retreat phase are marked by sediment accumulations, i.e. grounding zone wedges. These wedges are here mapped in sufficient detail to characterize spatial dimensions and estimate the volume of deposited sediment. Considering a range of sediment flux rates from the paleo-Pine Island Ice Stream we estimate that the largest and most clearly defined grounding zone wedge, located at about 73 degrees S in the surveyed area, took between 600 and 2000 years to form. The ice stream retreated landward of this wedge before 12.3 cal ka BP. The swath-bathymetric imagery of landforms in Pine Island Trough includes glacial features that suggest that retreat between periods of grounding line stability may be associated with episodes of ice shelf break-up. The depths of grounding line wedges decrease in a landward direction, from 740 to 670 m, and record elevation of the grounding line as it stepped landward. In all, the grounding line elevation varied by only similar to 80 m over a distance of just over 100 km, implying a low ice sheet profile during retreat. Finally, we revisited seismic reflection profile NB9902, acquired along Pine Island Trough in 1999, in combination with the newly acquired swath-bathymetric imagery from 2010. Together these data show that the ice stream paused during its retreat to form grounding zone wedges at an area in central Pine Island Trough where a high in dipping bedrock strata exists and the glacial trough is narrow, forming a bathymetric bottle neck.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 38, 1-10 p.
West Antarctica, Ice streams, Grounding zone wedge, Multibeam
Geology Physical Geography
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-80162DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.12.017ISI: 000302886700001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-80162DiVA: diva2:552247