Ice-flow reorganization in West Antarctica 2.5 kyr ago dated using radar-derived englacial flow velocities

Kingslake, Jonathan; Martín, Carlos; Arthern, Robert J.; Corr, Hugh F. J.; King, Edward C.

We date a recent ice-flow reorganization of an ice divide in the Weddell Sea Sector, West Antarctica, using a novel combination of inverse methods and ice-penetrating radars. We invert for two-dimensional ice flow within an ice divide from data collected with a phase-sensitive ice-penetrating radar while accounting for the effect of firn on radar propagation and ice flow. By comparing isochronal layers simulated using radar-derived flow velocities with internal layers observed with an impulse radar, we show that the divide's internal structure is not in a steady state but underwent a disturbance, potentially implying a regional ice-flow reorganization, 2.5 (1.8–2.9) kyr B.P. Our data are consistent with slow ice flow in this location before the reorganization and the ice divide subsequently remaining stationary. These findings increase our knowledge of the glacial history of a region that lacks dated constraints on late-Holocene ice-sheet retreat and provides a key target for models that reconstruct and predict ice-sheet behavior.

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Geophysical Research Letters

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