The contribution of glacial erosion to shaping the hidden landscape of East Antarctica

Stuart N. Thomson, Peter W Reiners, Sidney R. Hemming, George E Gehrels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The subglacial topography in East Antarctica has been revealed by airborne radar surveys1-3. However, how this ice-hidden landscape has evolved over time is less well known2-12. Low pre-glacial erosion rates since the Permian period have been reported12, challenging arguments for enhanced erosion during the Cretaceous period4,6. Here we present a record of long-term East Antarctic erosion by applying multiple dating techniques to over 1,400 detrital mineral grains from onshore moraines and offshore sediments of Cretaceous to Quaternary age in the region of Lambert Glacier and Prydz Bay. Ages from pre-glacial sediments support overall low erosion rates before the expansion of the ice sheet, apart from a discrete interval of magmatic heating about 115 Myr ago that is inconsistent with widespread Cretaceous erosion. We find a shift towards younger and broader age distributions since ∼34 Myrago that necessitates spatially localized erosion of over 2 km in the Lambert Glacier catchment over this time. We infer that the trough containing Lambert Glacier was incised almost entirely by selective glacial erosion following initial expansion of the East Antarctic ice sheet. This implies that the early ice sheet was dynamic with ice flow concentrated along fixed ice streams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-207
Number of pages5
JournalNature Geoscience
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2013

Fingerprint

glacial erosion
ice sheet
erosion
glacier
Cretaceous
erosion rate
ice stream
ice flow
glacial deposit
age structure
Permian
trough
radar
topography
catchment
heating
ice
Antarctica
mineral
sediment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

The contribution of glacial erosion to shaping the hidden landscape of East Antarctica. / Thomson, Stuart N.; Reiners, Peter W; Hemming, Sidney R.; Gehrels, George E.

In: Nature Geoscience, Vol. 6, No. 3, 03.2013, p. 203-207.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{5b39e783c1e14146a3b31ff79edbb4ff,
title = "The contribution of glacial erosion to shaping the hidden landscape of East Antarctica",
abstract = "The subglacial topography in East Antarctica has been revealed by airborne radar surveys1-3. However, how this ice-hidden landscape has evolved over time is less well known2-12. Low pre-glacial erosion rates since the Permian period have been reported12, challenging arguments for enhanced erosion during the Cretaceous period4,6. Here we present a record of long-term East Antarctic erosion by applying multiple dating techniques to over 1,400 detrital mineral grains from onshore moraines and offshore sediments of Cretaceous to Quaternary age in the region of Lambert Glacier and Prydz Bay. Ages from pre-glacial sediments support overall low erosion rates before the expansion of the ice sheet, apart from a discrete interval of magmatic heating about 115 Myr ago that is inconsistent with widespread Cretaceous erosion. We find a shift towards younger and broader age distributions since ∼34 Myrago that necessitates spatially localized erosion of over 2 km in the Lambert Glacier catchment over this time. We infer that the trough containing Lambert Glacier was incised almost entirely by selective glacial erosion following initial expansion of the East Antarctic ice sheet. This implies that the early ice sheet was dynamic with ice flow concentrated along fixed ice streams.",
author = "Thomson, {Stuart N.} and Reiners, {Peter W} and Hemming, {Sidney R.} and Gehrels, {George E}",
year = "2013",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1038/ngeo1722",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "6",
pages = "203--207",
journal = "Nature Geoscience",
issn = "1752-0894",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The contribution of glacial erosion to shaping the hidden landscape of East Antarctica

AU - Thomson, Stuart N.

AU - Reiners, Peter W

AU - Hemming, Sidney R.

AU - Gehrels, George E

PY - 2013/3

Y1 - 2013/3

N2 - The subglacial topography in East Antarctica has been revealed by airborne radar surveys1-3. However, how this ice-hidden landscape has evolved over time is less well known2-12. Low pre-glacial erosion rates since the Permian period have been reported12, challenging arguments for enhanced erosion during the Cretaceous period4,6. Here we present a record of long-term East Antarctic erosion by applying multiple dating techniques to over 1,400 detrital mineral grains from onshore moraines and offshore sediments of Cretaceous to Quaternary age in the region of Lambert Glacier and Prydz Bay. Ages from pre-glacial sediments support overall low erosion rates before the expansion of the ice sheet, apart from a discrete interval of magmatic heating about 115 Myr ago that is inconsistent with widespread Cretaceous erosion. We find a shift towards younger and broader age distributions since ∼34 Myrago that necessitates spatially localized erosion of over 2 km in the Lambert Glacier catchment over this time. We infer that the trough containing Lambert Glacier was incised almost entirely by selective glacial erosion following initial expansion of the East Antarctic ice sheet. This implies that the early ice sheet was dynamic with ice flow concentrated along fixed ice streams.

AB - The subglacial topography in East Antarctica has been revealed by airborne radar surveys1-3. However, how this ice-hidden landscape has evolved over time is less well known2-12. Low pre-glacial erosion rates since the Permian period have been reported12, challenging arguments for enhanced erosion during the Cretaceous period4,6. Here we present a record of long-term East Antarctic erosion by applying multiple dating techniques to over 1,400 detrital mineral grains from onshore moraines and offshore sediments of Cretaceous to Quaternary age in the region of Lambert Glacier and Prydz Bay. Ages from pre-glacial sediments support overall low erosion rates before the expansion of the ice sheet, apart from a discrete interval of magmatic heating about 115 Myr ago that is inconsistent with widespread Cretaceous erosion. We find a shift towards younger and broader age distributions since ∼34 Myrago that necessitates spatially localized erosion of over 2 km in the Lambert Glacier catchment over this time. We infer that the trough containing Lambert Glacier was incised almost entirely by selective glacial erosion following initial expansion of the East Antarctic ice sheet. This implies that the early ice sheet was dynamic with ice flow concentrated along fixed ice streams.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84874622682&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84874622682&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/ngeo1722

DO - 10.1038/ngeo1722

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84874622682

VL - 6

SP - 203

EP - 207

JO - Nature Geoscience

JF - Nature Geoscience

SN - 1752-0894

IS - 3

ER -