Aerogeophysical characterization of an active subglacial lake system in the David Glacier catchment, Antarctica

Lindzey, Laura E.; Beem, Lucas H.; Young, Duncan A.; Quartini, Enrica; Blankenship, Donald D.; Lee, Choon-Ki; Lee, Won Sang; Lee, Jong Ik; Lee, Joohan

In the 2016–2017 austral summer, the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG) and the Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI) collaborated to perform a helicopter-based radar and laser altimeter survey of lower David Glacier with the goals of characterizing the subglacial water distribution that supports a system of active subglacial lakes and informing the site selection for a potential subglacial access drilling project. This survey overlaps with and expands upon an earlier survey of the Drygalski Ice Tongue and the David Glacier grounding zone from 2011 and 2012 to create a 5 km resolution survey extending 200 km upstream from the grounding zone. The surveyed region covers two active subglacial lakes and includes reflights of ICESat ground tracks that extend the surface elevation record in the region. This is one of the most extensive aerogeophysical surveys of an active lake system and provides higher-resolution boundary conditions and basal characterizations that will enable process studies of these features. This paper introduces a new helicopter-mounted ice-penetrating radar and laser altimetry system, notes a discrepancy between the original surface-elevation-derived lake outlines and locations of possible water collection based on basal geometry and hydraulic potential, and presents radar-based observations of basal conditions that are inconsistent with large collections of ponded water despite laser altimetry showing that the hypothesized active lakes are at a highstand.



Lindzey, Laura E. / Beem, Lucas H. / Young, Duncan A. / et al: Aerogeophysical characterization of an active subglacial lake system in the David Glacier catchment, Antarctica. 2020. Copernicus Publications.


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