School of GeoSciences

The Exploration of Subglacial Lake Ellsworth

Geophysical Exploration of Lake Ellsworth

The geophysical survey of Lake Ellsworth (April 2007-March 2010) was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council's Antarctic Funding Initiative. PDFs of the full proposal and the earlier outline bid are available right.

Chilean glaciologists visited Lake Ellsworth in January 2006 to acquire reconnaissence data. Details of the Chilean field campaign are available right.

The NERC geophysical survey involved a 2-year field campaign, which comprised ground-based radio-echo sounding (to reveal the lake surface extent, the ice thickness over the lake and the subglacial morphology of the lake's locale), seismic sounding (to determine the lake's bathymetry and the character of lake-floor sediments), and a series of GPS surface measurements to reveal surface accumulation and strain rates.

In the first season (2007-8), seismic and RES surveys were conducted. The focus of the second season (2008-09) was to resurvey GPS stations and accumulation instruments (to reveal ice flow and surface accumulation) and to complete the RES surveys.