on Lambert Glacier is a major glacier in East Antarctica.

At about 60 miles (100 km) wide, over 250 miles (400 km) long, and about 2,500 meters deep, it holds the Guinness world record for the world's largest glacier. It drains 8 % of the Antarctic ice sheet to the east and south of the Prince Charles Mountains and flows northward to the Amery Ice Shelf. Ice thickness, topography and ice velocity data suggest that Lambert Glacier-Amery Ice Shelf system is one of the most important routes for discharge from the East Antarctic Sheet and has dominant influence on sedimentation in Prydz Bay. General Structure Lambert Glacier-Amery Ice Shelf system is a composite feature, made up of several major confluent ice streams. The Lambert, Mellor and Fisher Glaciers originate farthest in land and collectively form a main trunk known as the Lambert Glacier. The entire system can be considered ain three parts: the interior basin, the Lambert glacier system and the Amery ice sheet and its tributaries. Allison (1979) estimated the total mass flux of the interior basin to be 60 Gt per annum, and outflow from the interior basin

velocities indicate longitudinal strain rate thinning of the ice According to oxygen isotope studies on a core that penetrated through the outer Amery Ice Shelf. To this main stream. 1983). At location. with the result that a maximum thickness of 200 m from this source is acquired (Budd et al. The implications of basal melting and freezeon for debris transport and sedimentation are highly significant: strong basal melting in the narrow zone between the grounding zone and the freeze-on position will release most basal debris.to the Lambert glacier Gt per annum. Generally. only 25 m per annum recorded in places of of 800m.. The shape of the drainage basin is quite well defined on the basis of ice surface contours . 1982). Strain thinning seaward reduces this to about 110 m at the seaward limit. determined from surface slope data that were obtained by radioecho sounding (Drewry. increase downstream. 1982) data and continues out into the continental shelf. while the remaining debris will be transported out to the edge of the ice shelf and deposited in the marine environment from icebergs. it has been estimated that some 40% of the ice mass is lost by basal melting close to the grounding line.. 3). Flowlines. suggesting build up. show a funneling effect into the Lambert Graben. 1983). The graben was defined on the basis of seismic (Stagg. which can surges. . Flow the boundary between Lamber glacier and sheet was estimated at annum. with bare rock exposed in the to be 30 through the Amery ice 12 Gt per steady ice result in m per recorded thickness the this is 840 m the side of velocity of has been thickness covering a depth of was 7 m velocities Increasing increasing and sheet. In ice subglacial ridge to a 430m. 1985. the velocity per annum. The ice is thinnest at the coast. One-third of this is replaced by basal freezeon of saline ice (Robin. The thickness of the ice cover is variable and tends to smooth out the underlying topography (Fig.. Federov et al. This freeze-on process begins close to the grounding zone. Ice velocity of of 231 annum has been in places where of the ice is 1950m in Lambert Graben. 1982) and magnetic (Federov et al. the bedrock below sea level.

a view supported by the roundness character of clasts found at studied sites. Proportion of ice reaching the Prydz Bay from Lamber glacier is about 40%. In the Lambert Graben ice reaches a thickness of 2500 m below Mawson Escarpment. and so it has been proposed that surging has not occurred during the time of residence of Lambert glacier. otherwise in coastal areas it is less than 500 m thick. The rate of supply of angular material onto the surface of the Lambert Glacier-Amery Ice Shelf system is minor at the present day. Surface Information Much of the Lambert glacier is an area of significant ablation. Large areas of blue ice become exposed and are visible on satellite images. Ice is also thin in elevated areas like the Prince Charles Mountains and Grove Mountains.Vestfold Hills and other localities between Davis Station and the Amery Ice Shelf. State of the art Landsat images have resulted in mapping of ice foliation. 8 major flow units have been defined within the entire system. Bedrock Structure . where rock is exposed as nunataks. Increasing velocities indicate increasing longitudinal strain rate and thinning of the ice sheet. so that meltstreams and lakes form on the glacier surface during summer. moraines and crevasses. These surface waters will be carrying little debris and thus have little influence on eventual sedimentation. the Lambert glacier is sliding on its bed. which is estimated as lasting up to several thousands of years. Geometry of these structures is incompatible with the pulsating ice flow. According to Allison (1979). This figure is reduced even further if ice gain from basal free on and snowfall are taken into consideration. most of the debris reaching Prydz Bay will have been transported subglacially. but this decreases northward to about 900 m at the grounding line and about 270 m at the ice shelf edge. The bulk of the debris transport must be at the base of the ice mass.

but nevertheless elevated. ice surface flow is not strongly controlled by the irregularities of the bedrock Geology . which in Mount Menzies attains a maximum height of 3355 m above sea level. 1000-1500 m high. The Grove Mountains are just a small surface expression of a large elevated subglacial land mass. 5). but apart from the general movement of ice into the Lambert Graben. Over much of the region ice smoothes out the underlying topography. Several tributary trenches cut through these mountains and enter the main Lambert Graben. the true relief of this eastern margin is of the order of 3000 m. geomagnetic data (Federov et al. the Prince Charles Mountains. This is largely sediment-filled. that forms much of Princess Elizabeth Land. largely continuous. one of which penetrates nearly 1000 km southward from the edge of the Amery Ice Shelf. on either side of which ice flow is directed (Fig. east. With over 2500 m of ice in the graben.The subglacial topography is known in broad terms mainly from radio-echo sounding (Drewry. and south. rising to over 1000 m above sea level and cropping out as the Mawson Escarpment in the south. which rise to more than 3000 m above sea level and are overlain by Dome Argus. The graben is bordered to the west by a partially exposed mountain complex. but it acts as a major drainage route for ice from the Grove Mountains that rise to more than 1500 m farther to the east and that project through the ice as small nunataks. straight escarpment. mainly above 1500 m. The southern extremity of this mass culminates in the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains. Lower. 1983). 1982) indicate the existence of a branch of the main graben. which serves as a ridge. From the seaward edge of the Amery Ice Shelf. Penetrating these masses are subsea-level feeder branches of the Lambert Graben. areas connect this area with the southwestern Prince Charles Mountains and Grove Mountains. The deep trench of the Lambert Graben is bordered by high ground to the west. Various other low-altitude basins complete this rather complex topographic picture. The eastern margin is defined by a pronounced. finally reaching a depth of at least 2500 mbsl. East of the escarpment.. the Amery Basin continues to deepen progressively southward under the ice shelf and the Lambert Glacier. At the head of the Lambert Graben is a north-northwesttrending subglacial mountain mass.

which is analogous to the Beacon Supergroup of the Transantarctic Mountains. 2. the Amery Group. 900 m of rhythmically bedded sandstone. coal-siltstone. and banded iron-formations. Ravich and Federov. and 2 m-thick coal seams. slate. . Proterozoic pegmatite. and 3. shale. 1972. and 3. conglomerate. 200 m of arkose. 1984): 1. 1982).. Tingey. Ravich et al. siltstone. The sequence of older rocks according to Tingey (1982) is: 1. 1982. and claystone. fine sandstone. calc-silicate rocks. migmatite. Archean metasediments with fuchsite-bearing quartzite. Archean granitic basement with mainly massive or poorly foliated gneisses exposed in the southern Prince Charles Mountains and Vestfold Hills (Oliver et al. Here a Permian sequence. gritstone. minor quartzite. 250 m of conglomerate. 1982). coarse sandstone. comprises three units from bottom to top (Ravich and Federov.. Soviet and Australian geologists have interpreted these rocks in quite different ways. psammite. 2. and shale. retrogressed amphibolite. and para-amphibolite. 1982. Younger sedimentary strata are exposed in the Beaver Lake area of the northern Prince Charles Mountains (Mond. granite.Most outcrops of exposed rocks ( which extend 600 km poleward from the coast) consist of igneous and metamorphic rocks of Precambrian age. iron-rich strata. claystone.

with marked crustal thinning beneath. No other sedimentary strata.. the Prince Charles Mountains. Deep seismic soundings indicate deep faults bounding the graben. 1969. remain open questions. and thus sediment transport. principally in the complex graben structure occupied by the Lambert Glacier-Amery Ice Shelf system. with the break-away of India from Antarctica taking place in TriassicEarly Jurassic time..The total outcrop area of Permian sediments is 450 km2. this volume) and terrestrial-marine glacigenic in the outer part (Hambrey et al. Glacier development The timing of development of the graben complex is uncertain. the ice sheet may become unstable and large parts of it may surge (Hollin. with migration of tectonic activity westward with time. as has been suggested. and the Grove Mountains. of as much as 3500 m (Federov et al. then prediction of paleo-transport paths of debris would be almost impossible. and the source of debris when ice first reached the sea. it has been argued that as the net accumulation rate of ice in Antarctica seems to be greater than the loss of mass. ice is unlikely to have extended as far as present-day Prydz Bay until the alpine glaciers had coalesced to form a near-continuous ice sheet. filled with nonmagnetic rocks. (1982) suggested that the main rifting began in late Mesozoic time. However. or Early Cretaceous. are exposed in the region. Although there is no documented example of unequivocal surging in Antarctica. 1978). because the particle paths in the ice are normally parallel or diverge or converge in a predictable manner according to the shape of the confining channel. Federov et al. Alpine glaciation would have begun first on the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains. debris will remain on one side of the glacier as it is transported downstream. If. Budd and Mclnnes. Magnetic data have revealed depressions 5 km or more in depth in the basement. An exception to this rule is the effect on debris distribution induced by surging glaciers. there must have been a time when the Lambert . apart from Cenozoic tills. Stagg (1985) considered two possibilities based on the interpretation of seismic sequences in Prydz Bay: Permian to Late Jurassic.. This aspect of glacier flow has frequently been applied to formerly glacierized areas in order to reconstruct ice sheet dynamics. 1982). The initiation of glaciation. The Lambert Graben is a structure that extends south for almost 700 km and shows present-day bedrock relief. the Lambert Glacier-Amery Ice Shelf system is prone to surging. Thus. In terms of glacial erosion. this volume). mainly subice. and these sediments would have largely been derived from the hinterland of Prydz Bay. much of the region is believed to be underlain by such sediments. Despite the relatively small outcrop area of Permian and younger strata. The sedimentary packages of the continental shelf are predominantly continental in the inner part (Turner et al. Discussion In steady state glaciers it is normally possible to trace the trajectories of debris to the depositional site.

their influence is less than that of ice generated in the region nearer the coast. However. in terms of ice entering Prydz Bay today. were the most efficacious parts of the system. and Lambert. the Fisher. Mellor.Graben glaciers. .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful