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Evidence of an active volcanic heat source beneath the Pine Island Glacier

Evidence of an active volcanic heat source beneath the Pine Island Glacier
Evidence of an active volcanic heat source beneath the Pine Island Glacier

Tectonic landforms reveal that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) lies atop a major volcanic rift system. However, identifying subglacial volcanism is challenging. Here we show geochemical evidence of a volcanic heat source upstream of the fast-melting Pine Island Ice Shelf, documented by seawater helium isotope ratios at the front of the Ice Shelf cavity. The localization of mantle helium to glacial meltwater reveals that volcanic heat induces melt beneath the grounded glacier and feeds the subglacial hydrological network crossing the grounding line. The observed transport of mantle helium out of the Ice Shelf cavity indicates that volcanic heat is supplied to the grounded glacier at a rate of ~ 2500 ± 1700 MW, which is ca. half as large as the active Grimsvötn volcano on Iceland. Our finding of a substantial volcanic heat source beneath a major WAIS glacier highlights the need to understand subglacial volcanism, its hydrologic interaction with the marine margins, and its potential role in the future stability of the WAIS.

1-9
Loose, Brice
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Naveira Garabato, Alberto C.
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Schlosser, Peter
209d14a8-4d56-47ff-9f52-1f59a758db25
Jenkins, William J.
c1e43414-a6ab-4ca1-92d5-24e1c09ad6d5
Vaughan, David
c7ff674e-111b-4721-b286-3c501d3c71c0
Heywood, Karen J.
83d91436-76bc-4d55-ae41-9af6a6fc8869
Loose, Brice
64fb1ea7-f908-4fe2-a0c1-156c9c2c18e7
Naveira Garabato, Alberto C.
97c0e923-f076-4b38-b89b-938e11cea7a6
Schlosser, Peter
209d14a8-4d56-47ff-9f52-1f59a758db25
Jenkins, William J.
c1e43414-a6ab-4ca1-92d5-24e1c09ad6d5
Vaughan, David
c7ff674e-111b-4721-b286-3c501d3c71c0
Heywood, Karen J.
83d91436-76bc-4d55-ae41-9af6a6fc8869

Loose, Brice, Naveira Garabato, Alberto C., Schlosser, Peter, Jenkins, William J., Vaughan, David and Heywood, Karen J. (2018) Evidence of an active volcanic heat source beneath the Pine Island Glacier. Nature Communications, 9 (1), 1-9, [2431]. (doi:10.1038/s41467-018-04421-3).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Tectonic landforms reveal that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) lies atop a major volcanic rift system. However, identifying subglacial volcanism is challenging. Here we show geochemical evidence of a volcanic heat source upstream of the fast-melting Pine Island Ice Shelf, documented by seawater helium isotope ratios at the front of the Ice Shelf cavity. The localization of mantle helium to glacial meltwater reveals that volcanic heat induces melt beneath the grounded glacier and feeds the subglacial hydrological network crossing the grounding line. The observed transport of mantle helium out of the Ice Shelf cavity indicates that volcanic heat is supplied to the grounded glacier at a rate of ~ 2500 ± 1700 MW, which is ca. half as large as the active Grimsvötn volcano on Iceland. Our finding of a substantial volcanic heat source beneath a major WAIS glacier highlights the need to understand subglacial volcanism, its hydrologic interaction with the marine margins, and its potential role in the future stability of the WAIS.

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s41467-018-04421-3 - Version of Record
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Accepted/In Press date: 16 April 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 22 June 2018
Published date: 1 December 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 422081
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/422081
PURE UUID: 33d824b9-a67a-4dbe-969a-138c3ab48009

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Date deposited: 16 Jul 2018 16:30
Last modified: 26 Apr 2022 18:34

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Contributors

Author: Brice Loose
Author: Peter Schlosser
Author: William J. Jenkins
Author: David Vaughan
Author: Karen J. Heywood

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