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Digital Mapping of the Nordaustlandet Ice Caps from Airborne Geophysical Investigations

  • J.A. Dowdeswell (a1), D.J. Drewry (a1), A.P.R. Cooper (a1), M.R. Gorman (a1), O. Liestøl (a2) and O. Orheim (a2)...

Abstract

Airborne geophysical investigations of the previously tittle-studied Nordaustlandet ice caps (11 150 km2) took place in 1983, using SPRI 60 MHz radio echo-sounding (RES) equipment of 160 dB system performance. RES and navigational data were recorded digitally. Navigation used a ranging system (accurate to ±30 m) from aircraft to ground-based transponders, located by satellite geoceivers, supplemented by the aircraft’s navigational instruments and timed crossings of known features. Ice surface and bedrock elevations were measured, using aircraft pressure altitude, terrain clearance, and ice thickness data. The mean error of 251 crossing points on Austfonna was 11 m. The reduced geophysical data are stored on a direct-access computer database. During 3400 km of flying, Austfonna (8105 km2) was covered by traverses a nominal 5 km apart, whereas a 15 km-spaced grid was flown over Vestfonna (2510 km2). Maps of ice surface morphology and subglacial, bedrock topography were produced for Austfonna and Vestfonna, along with an ice thickness map of Austfonna, Austfonna reaches a maximum surface elevation of 791 m and ice thickness of 583 m. 28% of the bedrock area beneath Austfonna lies below sea level. RES yielded bedrock echoes for 91% of track over Austfonna, but only 52% over Vestfonna. This was probably due to warmer conditions on Vestfonna, resulting in greater absorption and scattering of electro-magnetic energy. Ice surface elevations are a principal data source in the revision of official Norwegian maps of Nordaustlandet.

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Copyright

References

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