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Volume 12, issue 6 | Copyright
The Cryosphere, 12, 2167-2174, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-12-2167-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Brief communication 28 Jun 2018

Brief communication | 28 Jun 2018

Brief communication: Candidate sites of 1.5 Myr old ice 37 km southwest of the Dome C summit, East Antarctica

Olivier Passalacqua1, Marie Cavitte2,3, Olivier Gagliardini1, Fabien Gillet-Chaulet1, Frédéric Parrenin1, Catherine Ritz1, and Duncan Young2 Olivier Passalacqua et al.
  • 1Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, IGE, 38000 Grenoble, France
  • 2University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA
  • 3Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA

Abstract. The search for ice as old as 1.5Myr requires the identification of places that maximize our chances to retrieve old, well-resolved, undisturbed and datable ice. One of these locations is very likely southwest of the Dome C summit, where elevated bedrock makes the ice thin enough to limit basal melting. A 3-D ice flow simulation is used to calculate five selection criteria, which together delineate the areas with the most appropriate glaciological properties. These selected areas (a few square kilometers) lie on the flanks of a bedrock high, where a balance is found between risks of basal melting, stratigraphic disturbances and sufficient age resolution. Within these areas, several sites of potential 1.5Myr old ice are proposed, situated on local bedrock summits or ridges. The trajectories of the ice particles towards these locations are short, and the ice flows over a smoothly undulating bedrock. These sites will help to choose where new high-resolution ground radar surveys should be conducted in upcoming field seasons.

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Locating a suitable drill site is a key step in the Antarctic oldest-ice challenge. Here we have conducted a 3-D ice flow simulation in the region of Dome C using a refined bedrock description. Five selection criteria are computed that together provide an objective overview on the local ice flow conditions. We delineate kilometer-scale favorable areas that overlap with the ones recently proposed by another group. We propose a few drill sites that should be surveyed during the next field seasons.
Locating a suitable drill site is a key step in the Antarctic oldest-ice challenge. Here we have...
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