Repeated Tidally Induced Hydrofracture of a Supraglacial Lake at the Amery Ice Shelf Grounding Zone

Luke D. Trusel, Zhuolai Pan, Mahsa Moussavi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Surface melting and lakes are common to Antarctic ice shelves, and their existence and drainages have been invoked as a precursor for ice shelf collapse. Here, we present satellite observations over 2014–2020 of repeated, rapid drainages of a supraglacial lake at the grounding zone of Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica. Post-drainage imagery in 2018 reveals lake bottom features characteristic of rapid, vertical lake drainage. Observed lake volumes indicate drainages are not associated with a threshold meltwater volume. Instead, drainages typically coincide with periods of high daily tidal amplitude, suggesting hydrofracture is assisted by tidally forced ice flexure inherent to the ice shelf grounding zone. Combined with observations of widespread grounding zone lake drainages on Amery, these findings indicate ice shelf meltwater accumulation may be inhibited by grounding zone drainage events, thus representing a potential stabilizing mechanism despite enhanced melting common to these regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021GL095661
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume49
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 16 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

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