Antarctic Subglacial Hydrology

Modern remote sensing data from the Antarctic subglacial environment reveal an active hydrologic system where water is stored in lakes and saturated sediments and is flushed towards the ice sheet margin during flooding events. These aqueous systems help regulate ice sheet flow and are significant sources of ocean solutes and nutrients. However, there is currently no geologic evidence for how the Antarctic basal hydrologic system evolves through time. My research applies geochronological, geochemical, and textural analyses of subglacial precipitates to study past subglacial flooding in Antarctica.

Millennial-Scale Hydrologic Connectivity

Centennial-Scale Sublglacial Flooding Events

Simulations of ice sheet basal hydrology predict periodic lake flushing events as a function of pressure from the overlying ice sheet and lake filling rate. Indeed, cyclic floods have been observed beneath the modern Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets. However, no long-term record of subglacial lake flushing exists. I’ve discovered a ~10kyr record of basal flushing beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet during MIS 5d and 5e, which reveals that subglacial lakes drain and fill in centennial-scale cycles.