Antarctica – Interplay of lithospheric structure and ice dynamics

by

Jörg Ebbing

From Department of Geosciences, Kiel University

Antarctica is the last piece in deciphering the geodynamic evolution of Gondwana as well as an important element in in the prediction of future sea-level rise. But due to the remote location and the ice coverage of the Antarctic continent, our knowledge of the continents interior is still limited.

Satellite and airborne data, as well seismological and GNSS networks have in recent years vastly improved our knowledge of the interior of the continents, e.g. East Antarctica is not a single cratonic unit, but divided in at least three different tectonic provinces with the Gamburtsev mountains in its centre, a mountain area reaching up to 3400 m, but completely hidden by thick ice sheets. The fragmentation of the continent reflects the tectonic evolution of the continent, but influences as well the thermal state of the continent, which in turn influence current ice-sheet dynamics.

In the Amundsen Sea Embayment in West Antarctica, accelerated ice mass loss coinciding with high uplift rates are observed. The uplift rates require a low viscosity mantle and point to an almost instantaneous response to ice loss, which might potentially decelerate the ice mass loss.

 

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Published Dec. 31, 2018 10:42 AM - Last modified Jan. 24, 2019 3:47 PM