Title page for ETD etd-04092009-091121


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Robinson, Rhonika
URN etd-04092009-091121
Title Role of Shelf Morphology in Grounding-Line Stability: A Numerical Approach
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Geology & Geophysics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Philip Bart Committee Chair
Annette Engel Committee Member
Huming Bao Committee Member
Keywords
  • West Antarctic Ice Sheet
  • continental shelf morphology
  • grounding line
  • basal melting
Date of Defense 2009-03-13
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
The main concern of this study is to discover how the transition from a shallow to an

overdeepened, foredeepened shelf might affect grounding-line translation of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Deep shelves permit a larger influx of relatively warm Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW), which melts the ice at grounding lines, and thereby, create a potentially unstable situation in which ice retreat may accelerate. Numerical analysis of the responses of marine ice sheets on various shelf profiles confirmed that a change in shelf morphology changes ice sheet dynamics. Ice sheet retreat on an overdeepened, foredeepened shelf is, at least, 3 times faster than ice sheet retreat on a shallow shelf that deepens toward the basin. Therefore, we can conclude that as the shelf transformed from its previous shallow, slightly dipping configuration to the present overdeepened, foredeepened configuration the ice sheet, indeed, became more susceptible to rapid retreat.

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