Crustal structure of the West Antarctic rift system and Marie Byrd Land hotspot

J. Paul Winberry, Sridhar Anandakrishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


The West Antarctic rift system is one of the largest zones of continental extension on Earth. However, little is known of its crustal structure owing to the vast ice sheet that dominates the region. We report on new insights gained from a recent broadband seismic experiment. The 25-km-thick crust measured on the southern flank of the Marie Byrd Land dome suggests that the high topography there is partially supported by a low-density mantle, possibly a hotspot, whereas the interior of the rift appears to be underlain by average-density mantle, suggesting that active volcanism is not present beneath the interior of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The fact that a crustal thickness of only 21 km was measured in the Bentley subglacial trench suggests that the region has undergone locally extreme extension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-980
Number of pages4
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'Crustal structure of the West Antarctic rift system and Marie Byrd Land hotspot'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this