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A 198.8 m deep borehole was drilled through ice to subglacial bedrock in the northwestern marginal part of Princess Elizabeth Land, ~12 km south of Zhongshan Station, in January–February 2019. Three years later, in February 2022, the borehole temperature profile was measured, and the geothermal heat flow (GHF) was estimated using a 1-D time-dependent energy-balance equation. For a depth corresponding to the base of the ice sheet, the GHF was calculated as 72.6 ± 2.3 mW m−2 and temperature −4.53 ± 0.27°C. The regional averages estimated for this area based, generally, on tectonic setting vary from 55 to 66 mW m−2. A higher GHF is interpreted to originate mostly from the occurrence of metamorphic complexes intruded by heat-producing elements in the subglacial bedrock below the drill site.
Analysis of multichannel seismic profiles collected on the continental rise off the Sabrina Coast, East Antarctica, has allowed the determination of the acoustic features that are indicative of major evolution steps of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) and highlights the role of meltwater that originated from Totten Glacier in shaping the margin architecture. The arrival of marine-terminating glaciers into the coastal region was recorded by an enhanced sediment input on the continental rise and the nucleation of channel-levees. Downslope sedimentary processes were dominant throughout the Late Cenozoic, testifying to the progressive growth of a highly dynamic, temperate ice sheet on the continent. The last evolutionary step marks the transition to when a full polar glacial regime occurred. The development of a prograding wedge with steeply dipping foresets on the continental shelf and slope exemplifies sedimentation at this time. Other sub-sea-floor observations indicate that downslope fluxes, triggered by glacial meltwater, were still able to deeply erode and deliver sediments to the rise area. This study's findings have led to the identification of expanded and well-preserved sedimentary successions, which we suggest should be considered as priority targets for future International Ocean Discovery Program deep drilling due to the sensitivity of the ice sheet in this area.
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