Airborne radar sounding over the Thwaites Glacier (TG) catchment and its surroundings provides the first comprehensive view of subglacial topography in this dynamic part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) and reveals that TG is underlain by a single, broad basin fed by a dendritic pattern of valleys, while Smith Glacier lies within an extremely deep, narrow trench. Subglacial topography in the TG catchment slopes inland from a broad, low-relief coastal sill to the thickest ice of the WAIS and makes deep connections to both Pine Island Glacier and the Ross Sea Embayment enabling dynamic interactions across the WAIS during deglaciation. Simple isostatic rebound modeling shows that most of this landscape would be submarine after deglaciation, aside from an island chain near the present-day Ross-Amundsen ice divide. The lack of topographic confinement along TG's eastern margin implies that it may continue to widen in response to grounding line retreat.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)