Average velocities for time intervals ranging from <1 to 15 years were measured by tracking ice-surface patterns on sequential Landsat and European Remote-sensing Satellite synthetic aperture radar images. Velocities of Thwaites Glacier range from 2.2 km a-1 above the grounding line to 3.4 km a-1 at the limit of measurements on Thwaites Glacier ice tongue. The glacier increases in velocity by about 1 km a-1 where it crosses the grounding line. Over the period 1984-93, Thwaites Glacier ice tongue accelerated by about 0.6 km a-1. Velocities of the floating part of several minor glaciers and some ice shelves are also determined: Land Glacier, 1.7-1.9 km a-1; DeVicq Glacier, 0.7-1.1 km a-1; Dotson Ice Shelf, 0.2-0.5 km a-1; Getz Ice Shelf, 0.2-0.8 km a-1; and Sulzberger Ice Shelf, 0.01-0.02 km a-1. The high velocities along the Marie Byrd Land coast are consistent with the high precipitation rates over West Antarctica and, for some of the glaciers, the lack of buttressing ice shelves.
Additional publication details
Velocities of Thwaites Glacier and smaller glaciers along the Marie Byrd Land coast, West Antarctica