Post-LGM Grounding-Line Positions of the Bindschadler Paleo Ice Stream in the Ross Sea Embayment, Antarctica
Bart, Philip J.; Anderson, John B.; Nitsche, Frank
The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) retreated more than 1,000 km since last grounding at the Ross Sea outer continental shelf. Here we show an interpretation of former grounding line positions from a new large-area multibeam survey and a regional grid of chirp cross-sectional data from the Whales Deep Basin in eastern Ross Sea. The basin is a paleo-glacial trough that was occupied by the Bindschadler Ice Stream when grounded ice advanced to the shelf edge during the Last Glacial Maximum. These new geophysical data provide unambiguous evidence that the WAIS occupied at least seven grounding line positions within 60 km of the shelf edge. Four of seven grounding zone wedges (GZWs) are partly exposed over large areas of the trough. The overlapping stratal arrangement created a large-volume compound GZW. Some of the groundings involved local readvance of the grounding line. Subsequent to these seven outer continental shelf groundings, the ice sheet retreated more than 200 km towards Roosevelt Island on the middle continental shelf. The major retreat across the middle continental shelf is recorded by small-scale moraine ridges that mantle the top of GZW7, and these are suggestive of relatively continuous grounding line recession. The results indicate that retreat was considerably more complex than was possible to reconstruct with reconnaissance-level data. The added details are important to climate models, which must first be able to reproduce the recent retreat pattern in all of its complexities to improve confidence in model predictions of the system's future response.