Ice shelf history determined from deformation styles in surface debris

Neil F. Glasser, Tom Holt, Edward Fleming, Carl Stevenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
137 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents InSAR-derived ice shelf velocities and observations of surface debris deformation on the McMurdo Ice Shelf (MIS). Ice shelf velocities show that the MIS has a low surface velocity, with debris-laden parts of the ice shelf in the area known as the ‘swirls’ averaging speeds of c. 3 m a-1 increasing to c. 16 m a-1 at the ice front. Analysis of the fold patterns within moraine ridges on the ice surface reveals a deformational history inconsistent with the present velocity measurements. Polyphase, isoclinal folding within moraine ridges at the surface are interpreted to have formed through intense deformation by past ice flow in a NNW orientation. The velocities and styles of deformation indicate that the majority of debris on the ice shelf was originally transported into the area by a large and dynamic ice sheet/ice shelf system entirely different to that of the present configuration. Although the age of this event is unknown, it is possible that this debris has been exposed on the surface of the ice shelf since the last glacial maximum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-673
Number of pages13
JournalAntarctic Science
Issue number06
Early online date13 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


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