Rock debris in an Antarctic ice shelf

Nicholls, K.W. ORCID:; Corr, H.F.J.; Makinson, K. ORCID:; Pudsey, C.J.. 2012 Rock debris in an Antarctic ice shelf. Annals of Glaciology, 53 (60). 235-240.

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We have discovered a band of stones and coarse sand in the Ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica, some 60m above the ice shelf’s base, 40km from its seaward edge and 420km from the point where the ice originally went afloat. A study of ice-sounding radar data from across the Ronne Ice Shelf has revealed other areas likely to contain debris in significant quantities. It appears that basal debris at the margins of ice streams feeding the ice shelf can be buried in the ice shelf by sea water freezing-on at the ice-shelf base. These findings are evidence for a mechanism active in a present-day ice-sheet/shelf system, which enables icebergs to transport large volumes of ice-rafted debris, and which also provides a potential mechanism for the formation of ice rises near ice fronts. We anticipate that a seismics study of debris melted from the ice shelf and deposited beneath will provide a valuable control on the history of ice-shelf–ocean interactions.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Polar Science for Planet Earth (2009 - ) > Environmental Change and Evolution
BAS Programmes > Polar Science for Planet Earth (2009 - ) > Polar Oceans
ISSN: 02603055
NORA Subject Terms: Glaciology
Date made live: 08 Nov 2012 11:59 +0 (UTC)

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