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Volume 12, issue 7 | Copyright

Special issue: Oldest Ice: finding and interpreting climate proxies in ice...

The Cryosphere, 12, 2413-2424, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 25 Jul 2018

Research article | 25 Jul 2018

Glaciological characteristics in the Dome Fuji region and new assessment for “Oldest Ice”

Nanna B. Karlsson1,a, Tobias Binder1, Graeme Eagles1, Veit Helm1, Frank Pattyn2, Brice Van Liefferinge2, and Olaf Eisen1,3 Nanna B. Karlsson et al.
  • 1Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2Laboratoire de Glaciologie, Université Libre de Bruxelles, CP 160/03, Avenue F.D. Roosevelt 50, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
  • 3Department of Geosciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • anow at: Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract. A key objective in palaeo-climatology is the retrieval of a continuous Antarctic ice-core record dating back 1.5Ma. The identification of a suitable Antarctic site requires sufficient knowledge of the subglacial landscape beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Here, we present new ice thickness information from the Dome Fuji region, East Antarctica, based on airborne radar surveys conducted during the 2014/15 and 2016/17 southern summers. Compared to previous maps of the region, the new dataset shows a more complex landscape with networks of valleys and mountain plateaus. We use the new dataset as input in a thermokinematic model that incorporates uncertainties in geothermal heat flux values in order to improve the predictions of potential ice-core sites. Our results show that especially the region immediately south of Dome Fuji station persists as a good candidate site for obtaining an old ice core. An initial assessment of basal conditions revealed the existence of what appears to be subglacial lakes. Further radar data analysis shows overall high continuity of layer stratigraphy in the region. This indicates that extending the age–depth information from the Dome Fuji ice core to a new ice-core drill site is a viable option.

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In this study, we investigate the probability that the Dome Fuji region in East Antarctica contains ice more than 1.5 Ma old. The retrieval of a continuous ice-core record extending beyond 1 Ma is imperative to understand why the frequency of ice ages changed from 40 to 100 ka approximately 1 Ma ago. We use a new radar dataset to improve the ice thickness maps, and apply a thermokinematic model to predict basal temperature and age of the ice. Our results indicate several areas of interest.
In this study, we investigate the probability that the Dome Fuji region in East Antarctica...