Subglacial Lake Ellsworth: A candidate for in situ exploration in West Antarctica

Siegert, Martin, Hindmarsh, Richard, Corr, Hugh, Smith, Andrew, Woodward, John, King, Edward, Payne, Antony J. and Joughin, Ian (2004) Subglacial Lake Ellsworth: A candidate for in situ exploration in West Antarctica. Geophysical Research Letters, 31 (23). pp. 1-4. ISSN 0094-8276

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2004GL021477

Abstract

Radio-echo sounding reveals a 10 km-long lake beneath ∼3.4 km of ice near the Ellsworth Mountains in West Antarctica, 20 km from the ice divide. Subglacial Lake Ellsworth is located within a distinct topographic hollow, which is ∼1.5 km deeper than the surrounding bed. Judging by bed slopes flanking the lake, the water depth is at least 10s of metres. Calculations of basal temperature reveal the ice base to be warm both now and during full glacial periods. As the environments of subglacial lakes are broadly similar, life may be expected in Lake Ellsworth as in any other. Given this, its physical characteristics, and the fact that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has been accessed on several occasions, Lake Ellsworth is an excellent candidate for in situ examination.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Antarctica; extremophiles; subglacial lakes
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2015 11:25
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2015 11:35
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/19735

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