Radio-frequency probes of Antarctic ice at South Pole
Using hardware developed for the ARA (Askaryan Radio Array) particle astrophysics experiment, we herein report on the amplitude and temporal characteristics of polarized surface radar echo data collected in South Polar ice using radio sounding equipment with 0.5-ns echo-time sampling. We observe strong echoes at 6, 9.6, 13.9, 17, and 19 μs following vertical pulse emission from the surface, corresponding to reflectors in the upper half of the ice sheet. The synchronicity of those echoes for all broadcast azimuthal polarizations affirms the lack of observable birefringence over the upper half of the ice sheet. Of the five strongest echoes, three exhibit an evident amplitude correlation with the local surface ice flow direction, qualitatively consistent with measurements in East Antarctica. Combined with other radio echo sounding data, we conclude that observed birefringent asymmetries at South Pole are generated entirely in the lower half of the ice sheet. By contrast, birefringent asymmetries are observed at shallow depths in East Antarctica.