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How old is the ice beneath Dome A, Antarctica?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL.
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2014 (English)In: The Cryosphere, ISSN 1994-0416, E-ISSN 1994-0424, Vol. 8, no 3, 1121-1128 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Chinese scientists will start to drill a deep ice core at Kunlun station near Dome A in the near future. Recent work has predicted that Dome A is a location where ice older than 1 million years can be found. We model flow, temperature and the age of the ice by applying a three-dimensional, thermomechanically coupled full-Stokes model to a 70x70 km(2) domain around Kunlun station, using isotropic non-linear rheology and different prescribed anisotropic ice fabrics that vary the evolution from isotropic to single maximum at 1/3 or 2/3 depths. The variation in fabric is about as important as the uncertainties in geothermal heat flux in determining the vertical advection which in consequence controls both the basal temperature and the age profile. We find strongly variable basal ages across the domain since the ice varies greatly in thickness, and any basal melting effectively removes very old ice in the deepest parts of the subglacial valleys. Comparison with dated radar isochrones in the upper one third of the ice sheet cannot sufficiently constrain the age of the deeper ice, with uncertainties as large as 500 000 years in the basal age. We also assess basal age and thermal state sensitivities to geothermal heat flux and surface conditions. Despite expectations of modest changes in surface height over a glacial cycle at Dome A, even small variations in the evolution of surface conditions cause large variation in basal conditions, which is consistent with basal accretion features seen in radar surveys.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 8, no 3, 1121-1128 p.
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-229979DOI: 10.5194/tc-8-1121-2014ISI: 000338655600023OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-229979DiVA: diva2:738627
Available from: 2014-08-18 Created: 2014-08-18 Last updated: 2014-08-18Bibliographically approved

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Moore, John C.
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