Greenland subglacial lakes detected by radar
Geophysical Research Letters
American Geophysical Union (AGU) / Wiley
©2013. The Authors. Geophysical Research Letters published by Wiley on behalf of the American Geophysical Union. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Subglacial lakes are an established and important component of the basal hydrological system of the Antarctic ice sheets, but none have been reported from Greenland. Here we present airborne radio echo sounder (RES) measurements that provide the first clear evidence for the existence of subglacial lakes in Greenland. Two lakes, with areas ~8 and ~10 km2, are found in the northwest sector of the ice sheet, ~40 km from the ice margin, and below 757 and 809 m of ice, respectively. The setting of the Greenland lakes differs from those of Antarctic subglacial lakes, being beneath relatively thin and cold ice, pointing to a fundamental difference in their nature and genesis. Possibilities that the lakes consist of either ancient saline water in a closed system or are part of a fresh, modern open hydrological system are discussed, with the latter interpretation considered more likely.
Funding was provided by NERC grant NE/ H020667. Additional support was provided by NASA grant NNX11AD33G and the G. Unger Vetlesen foundation.
This is the final version of the article. Available from AGU via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 40 (23), pp. 6154–6159