EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Characterising the bed of Rutford Ice Stream, West Antarctica, using reflection seismic profiles

Alex Brisbourne1, Andrew Smith1, Tavi Murray2, Rebecca Schlegel2, Keith Nichols1, Dominic Hodgson1, Sridhar Anandakrishnan3, and Sofia Kufner1
Alex Brisbourne et al.
  • 1British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (
  • 2Department of Geography, Swansea Univsersity, Swansea, UK
  • 3Department fo Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA United States

Ice stream flow is predominantly controlled by sliding over the bed, deformation within the bed and deformation within the ice column. The significance of processes at the bed, now and in the future, remains uncertain due to a lack of knowledge of conditions at the ice stream bed. In the Austral summer of 2018/19, as part of the BEAMISH Project, three holes were drilled to the bed of Rutford Ice Stream to install instruments in the ice column and at the bed, and also sample the bed. Prior to drilling, three seismic profiles were acquired across the bed access sites. These data therefore provide a rare opportunity to compare in situ measurements of ice stream bed conditions with seismic reflection data. The seismic line acquisition was also repeated one year later to investigate any changes at the bed following the drilling and connection to the bed. We will use a combination of imaging, acoustic impedance calculation and wide-angle reflection amplitude variation to characterise the bed conditions using the seismic data.   

How to cite: Brisbourne, A., Smith, A., Murray, T., Schlegel, R., Nichols, K., Hodgson, D., Anandakrishnan, S., and Kufner, S.: Characterising the bed of Rutford Ice Stream, West Antarctica, using reflection seismic profiles, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-128,, 2019

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