A topographic hinge-zone divides coastal and inland ice dynamic regimes in East Antarctica

Jane L. Andersen*, Jennifer C. Newall, Ola Fredin, Neil F. Glasser, Nathaniel A. Lifton, Finlay M. Stuart, Derek Fabel, Marc Caffee, Vivi K. Pedersen, Alexandria J. Koester, Yusuke Suganuma, Jonathan M. Harbor, Arjen P. Stroeven

*Corresponding author for this work

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The impact of late Cenozoic climate on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is uncertain. Poorly constrained patterns of relative ice thinning and thickening impair the reconstruction of past ice-sheet dynamics and global sea-level budgets. Here we quantify long-term ice cover of mountains protruding the ice-sheet surface in western Dronning Maud Land, using cosmogenic Chlorine-36, Aluminium-26, Beryllium-10, and Neon-21 from bedrock in an inverse modeling approach. We find that near-coastal sites experienced ice burial up to 75–97% of time since 1 Ma, while interior sites only experienced brief periods of ice burial, generally <20% of time since 1 Ma. Based on these results, we suggest that the escarpment in Dronning Maud Land acts as a hinge-zone, where ice-dynamic changes driven by grounding-line migration are attenuated inland from the coastal portions of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, and where precipitation-controlled ice-thickness variations on the polar plateau taper off towards the coast.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Number of pages12
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 05 Jan 2023


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