Ice stream motion facilitated by a shallow-deforming and accreting bed

Spagnolo, Matteo, Phillips, Emrys, Piotrowski, Jan A., Rea, Brice R., Clark, Chris D., Stokes, Chris R., Carr, Simon ORCID logo ORCID: , Ely, Jeremy C., Ribolini, Adriano, Wysota, Wojciech and Szuman, Izabela (2016) Ice stream motion facilitated by a shallow-deforming and accreting bed. Nature Communications, 7 (10723).

[thumbnail of Carr_IceStreamMotion.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License CC BY

Download (4MB) | Preview
Official URL:


Ice streams drain large portions of ice sheets and play a fundamental role in governing their response to atmospheric and oceanic forcing, with implications for sea-level change. The mechanisms that generate ice stream flow remain elusive. Basal sliding and/or bed deformation have been hypothesized, but ice stream beds are largely inaccessible. Here we present a comprehensive, multi-scale study of the internal structure of mega-scale glacial lineations (MSGLs) formed at the bed of a palaeo ice stream. Analyses were undertaken at macro- and microscales, using multiple techniques including X-ray tomography, thin sections and ground penetrating radar (GPR) acquisitions. Results reveal homogeneity in stratigraphy, kinematics, granulometry and petrography. The consistency of the physical and geological properties demonstrates a continuously accreting, shallow-deforming, bed and invariant basal conditions. This implies that ice stream basal motion on soft sediment beds during MSGL formation is accommodated by plastic deformation, facilitated by continuous sediment supply and an inefficient drainage system.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Nature Communications
Publisher: Nature Research
ISSN: 2041-1723
Departments: Academic Departments > Science, Natural Resources & Outdoor Studies (SNROS) > STEM
Additional Information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2019 13:45
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 15:16


Downloads per month over past year

Downloads each year

Edit Item