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Shallow-source aeromagnetic anomalies observed over the West Antarctic Ice Sheet compared with coincident bed topography from radar ice sounding - New evidence for glacial "removal" of subglacially erupted late Cenozoic rift-related volcanic edifices

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, , , and
DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2003.10.006

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Abstract

Aeromagnetic and radar ice sounding results from the 1991-1997 Central West Antarctica (CWA) aerogeophysical survey over part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) and subglacial area of the volcanically active West Antarctic rift system have enabled detailed examination of specific anomaly sources. These anomalies, previously interpreted as caused by late Cenozoic subglacial volcanic centers, are compared to newly available glacial bed-elevation data from the radar ice sounding compilation of the entire area of the aeromagnetic survey to test this hypothesis in detail. We examined about 1000 shallow-source magnetic anomalies for bedrock topographic expression. Using very conservative criteria, we found over 400 specific anomalies which correlate with bed topography directly beneath each anomaly. We interpret these anomalies as indicative of the relative abundance of volcanic anomalies having shallow magnetic sources. Of course, deeper source magnetic anomalies are present, but these have longer wavelengths, lower gradients and mostly lower amplitudes from those caused by the highly magnetic late Cenozoic volcanic centers. The great bulk of these >400 (40-1200-nT) anomaly sources at the base of the ice have low bed relief (60-600 m, with about 80%<200 m). We interpret this relief as an indication of residual topography after glacial removal of volcanic edifices comprising hyaloclastite, pillow breccia and other volcanic debris erupted into the moving ice during volcanism since the initiation of the WAIS >10 million years ago. Eighteen of the anomalies examined, about half concentrated in the area of the WAIS divide, have high-topographic expression (as great as 400 m above sea level) and high bed relief (up to 1500 m). All of these high-topography anomaly sources at the base of the ice would isostatically rebound to elevations above sea level were the ice removed. We interpret these 18 anomaly sources as evidence of subaerial eruption of volcanoes whose topography was protected from erosion by competent volcanic flows similar to prominent volcanic peaks that are exposed above the surface of the WAIS. Further, we infer these volcanoes as possibly erupted at a time when the WAIS was absent. In contrast, at the other extreme, there are a number of shallow-source, volcanic appearing magnetic anomalies overlying the very smooth bed topography in the survey area beneath Ice Stream D (Bindshadler Ice Stream); the glacial bed probably comprises a very thin layer of unconsolidated sediments (till). Probably, the volcanic edifices here were removed at a more rapid rate because of fast glacial flow. A few of the very shallow-source "volcanic" anomalies overlie the ice shelf just downstream of the grounding line of Ice Stream D, suggesting a causal relationship, if the volcanism is recent. ?? 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Conference Paper
Publication Subtype:
Conference Paper
Title:
Shallow-source aeromagnetic anomalies observed over the West Antarctic Ice Sheet compared with coincident bed topography from radar ice sounding - New evidence for glacial "removal" of subglacially erupted late Cenozoic rift-related volcanic edifices
DOI:
10.1016/j.gloplacha.2003.10.006
Volume
42
Issue:
1-4
Year Published:
2004
Language:
English
Larger Work Title:
Global and Planetary Change
First page:
177
Last page:
193
Number of Pages:
17