Subglacial processes on an Antarctic ice stream bed. 2: Can modelled ice dynamics explain the morphology of mega-scale glacial lineations?

Stewart S. R. Jamieson*, Chris R. Stokes, Stephen J. Livingstone, Andreas Vieli, Colm Ó Cofaigh, Claus-Dieter Hillenbrand, Matteo Spagnolo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
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Mega-scale glacial lineations (MSGLs) are highly elongate subglacial bedforms associated with ice streaming. However, the link between MSGLs and rapid ice flow is largely qualitative, and there have been few attempts to quantitatively link their formation to ice flow characteristics (e.g. ice velocity, thickness, basal shear stress). We take measurements of MSGLs from a palaeo-ice stream that once occupied Marguerite Trough, Antarctic Peninsula and explore a range of possible correlations with ice dynamics generated from an ensemble of numerical modelling experiments that reproduce the deglaciation of the ice stream. Our results confirm that high mean ice velocities and a weak bed correlate with longer MSGLs. Furthermore, the height of MSGLs are low (2-3 m) where modelled basal shear stress is low, but their height tends to be higher and more variable where basal shear stress is larger. The mean density of MSGLs decreases as ice flux increases. Our analysis further suggests that the length of MSGLs is a function of basal ice velocity and time. Although our data/model correlations confirm the importance of ice velocity in MSGL formation, a significant challenge remains if we are to employ MSGLs as a quantifiable measure of past ice stream velocity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-298
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Glaciology
Issue number232
Early online date14 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

This work was funded by Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) UK standard grants NE/G015430/1 and NE/G018677/1. Jamieson was supported by NERC Fellowship NE/J018333/1 and Spagnolo was supported by NERC new investigator grant NE/J004766/1. This research would not have been possible without the hard work of scientists and crew during research cruises JR59, JR71, JR157 and NBP0201. We thank Chris Clark for useful discussions and two anonymous reviewers for comments that helped to improve the manuscript. Data produced in this manuscript are available from the corresponding author.


  • bedforms
  • correlation
  • glacial lineations
  • ice stream
  • ice velocity
  • numerical model


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