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Title: A study of subglacial geomorphology in the Gamburtsev Mountains area, East Antarctica
Author: Perkins, David J.
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1984
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The aim of this thesis is to establish useful methods of morphological analysis for the radio-echo data stored at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, and to apply these to a poorly known area o the subglacial Antarctic surface - the Gamburtsev Mountains beneath the centre of the East Antarctic ice sheet. These mountains could have a profound influence on the behaviour of the current ice sheet, as well as on the development of models for the establishment and growth of the ice sheet. A morphological explanation of these mountains is thus of some importance. A first step towards these aims is to prepare a contour map. The problems of achieving bed altitude figures, the errors involved in the calculation and the contouring processes are examined and a new contour map of the Gamburtsev Mountains is presented as a considerable improvement in detail over previous reconstructions of this surface. This must be accompanied by a morphological analysis for further explanation and this has been approached using analogue for the surface, and by a division into macro- and meso-scale studies. The nature of the radio-echo data precludes many established methods of morphological analysis and poses problems for three-dimensional interpretation. After examination of available methods the macro-scale study of relief is divided into vertical and horizontal components. The mean and standard deviation of altitudes are used to study vert ical variations in relief across the mountains, with the distances between neighbouring peaks, and the recurrence intervals of altitudes being applied to the horizontal component. The meso-scale study concentrates on the valleys in the Gamburtsev mountain surface, with the examination of top widths, depths, basal widths, and vertical and horizontal asymmetry being examined. Relationships and ratios between these parameters are analysed. These macro- and meso-scale studies are compared throughout with the results of repeating the measurements on other, exposed, glaciated land surfaces (West Greenland, East Greenland, Baffin Island, the Dry Valleys area, McMurdo Sound, and other parts of the Transantarctic Mountains), in order to establish known controls on our interpretation of the Gamburtsev surface measurements. This analysis leads to the presentation of a morphological classification of the Gamburtsev surface which complements the contour map and is used in an explanation of the nature of the surface in terms of geological history, the history of glacierisation and the current ice sheet conditions. A model of East Antarctic ice sheet growth including the role of the Gamburtsev Mountains is integrated with existing models. The mountains played a crucial part in the establishment of ice sheet conditions, and their morphology reflects this role together with their long and complex geological history.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available