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Modelled composition of cryogenically produced subglacial brines, Antarctica

  • Christopher B. Gardner (a1) and W. Berry Lyons (a1)

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Polar subglacial hydrologic systems have garnered much interest since the recognition of Lake Vostok in 1996. In Antarctica, these environments are hydrologically diverse, including isolated lakes of different sizes, river–lake flow-through systems, “swamps” and groundwater (Siegert 2016). The refreezing of subglacial meltwater is also an important process beneath a large portion of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (Bell et al. 2011). As subglacial water refreezes it exsolves salts, potentially leaving behind saline and hypersaline brines. Brines thought to derive from this cryoconcentration process have been observed in the northern polar permafrost regions and in the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDVs) region of Antarctica. Additionally, sediments in the Victoria Land Basin have diagenetic signatures produced by brine movement dating from 3–11 m.y.a, suggesting hypersaline brines have existed in the McMurdo region since at least this time (Staudigel et al. 2018).

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Modelled composition of cryogenically produced subglacial brines, Antarctica

  • Christopher B. Gardner (a1) and W. Berry Lyons (a1)

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