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Ice-flow-induced scattering zone within the Antarctic ice sheet revealed by high-frequency airborne radar

  • Kenichi Matsuoka (a1), Seiho Uratsuka (a2), Shuji Fujita (a3) and Fumihiko Nishio (a4)

Abstract

To better understand how internal radar echoes depend on ice-flow conditions and radar polarization, we surveyed two basins in East Antarctica using 179 MHz airborne radar. We compared radar echoes from three ice-flow conditions: parallel sheet flow in the main stream of a basin, convergent flow towards an ice stream, and longitudinal compression by nunataks. We detected a distinct zone of high radar scattering several hundred meters thick at middle depths in the latter two regions. This high-scattering zone was detected only when the radar polarization plane was parallel to the compression axis in ice. Such a high-scattering zone was not found in the parallel-flow region, regardless of the polarization. Using a recently developed theory of radar scattering in ice, we interpret the high-scattering zone as being caused by crystal-orientation-fabric alternations among adjacent ice layers due to difference in horizontal strain components. We argue that the spatial variation of the high-scattering zone is crucial for understanding past and present flow features.

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References

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