Tidally controlled stick-slip discharge of a West Antarctic ice stream

Robert A. Bindschadler, Matt A. King, Richard B. Alley, Sridhar Anandakrishnan, Laurence Padman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

207 Scopus citations


A major West Antarctic ice stream discharges by sudden and brief periods of very rapid motion paced by oceanic tidal oscillations of about 1 meter. Acceleration to speeds greater than 1 meter per hour and deceleration back to a stationary state occur in minutes or less. Slip propagates at approximately 88 meters per second, suggestive of a shear wave traveling within the subglacial till. A model of an episodically slipping friction-locked fault reproduces the observed quasi-periodic event timing, demonstrating an ice stream's ability to change speed rapidly and its extreme sensitivity to subglacial conditions and variations in sea level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1087-1089
Number of pages3
Issue number5636
StatePublished - Aug 22 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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