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Millennially averaged accumulation rates for the Vostok Subglacial Lake region inferred from deep internal layers

  • Joseph A. MacGregor (a1), Kenichi Matsuoka (a1), Michelle R. Koutnik (a1), Edwin D. Waddington (a1), Michael Studinger (a2) and Dale P. Winebrenner (a1) (a3)...

Abstract

Accumulation rates and their spatio-temporal variability are important boundary conditions for ice-flow models. The depths of radar-detected internal layers can be used to infer the spatial variability of accumulation rates. Here we infer accumulation rates from three radar layers (26, 35 and 41 ka old) in the Vostok Subglacial Lake region using two methods: (1) the local-layer approximation (LLA) and (2) a combination of steady-state flowband modeling and formal inverse methods. The LLA assumes that the strain-rate history of a particle traveling through the ice sheet can be approximated by the vertical strain-rate profile at the current position of the particle, which we further assume is uniform. The flowband model, however, can account for upstream strain-rate gradients. We use the LLA to map accumulation rates over a 150 km × 350 km area, and we apply the flowband model along four flowbands. The LLA accumulation-rate map shows higher values in the northwestern corner of our study area and lower values near the downstream shoreline of the lake. These features are also present but less distinct in the flowband accumulation-rate profiles. The LLA-inferred accumulation-rate patterns over the three time periods are all similar, suggesting that the regional pattern did not change significantly between the start of the Holocene and the last ~20 ka of the last Glacial Period. However, the accumulation-rate profiles inferred from the flowband model suggest changes during that period of up to 1 cma–1 or ~50% of the inferred values.

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References

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