Glaciares de Chile


"Topographic and hydrological controls on Subglacial Lake Ellsworth, West Antarctica"

Vaughan, D. G., A. Rivera, J. Woodward, H. F. J. Corr, J. Wendt, and R. Zamora (2007) : «Topographic and hydrological controls on Subglacial Lake Ellsworth, West Antarctica» Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L18501,doi:10.1029/2007GL030769.

Resumen / Abstract.

Subglacial Lake Ellsworth (SLE) was identified using reconnaissance data collected in the 1970s, here we present more detailed surveys. SLE lies beneath 3.2 km of ice in a subglacial valley in West Antarctica. It has an area of only 18 km2, is dissimilar to the large tectonically-controlled lakes beneath East Antarctica and is a strong candidate for in situ exploration. Our analysis indicates that the ice above SLE is floating on a fluid whose density is 950 – 1013 kg m-3. This could indicate freshwater, but certainly precludes seawater, or high salt, acid, or clathrate content. The water in the lake is unlikely to be produced solely by local melt; it is more likely delivered via subglacial drainage. Our surveys show no identifiable hydrological barrier to outflow, meaning SLE is effectively full; new water entering the lake is likely balanced by outflow, which would drain into another lake that we have also identified.