New research reveals secrets of former subglacial lakes in North America

June 14, 2016
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Geologists at the University of Sheffield have provided a unique proof of existing the subglacial lakes in North America. Scientists have revealed former subglacial lakes and their drainage routes beneath the ice sheets. For the first time, geologists investigated an extremely strange flat spot and associated no-water-in-it channel in Alberta, Canada. In such a way science had discovered the former existence of a lake, which trapped beneath an ice sheet during the last glaciation era.

Geologists found out the former subglacial lakes and their drainage routes beneath the ice sheets. These relict lakes are no longer covered by ice, so scientists now able to reconstruct the picture–what the lake look like, and how it drained from the landforms. An article in the Nature Communications suggests the lake existed as a shallow lens of water which repeatedly drained through channels cut into the bed.

Geographer Dr Stephen Livingstone from the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield applied the geomodelling method for their theory of former subglacial lakes on Earth. Beneath the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, the subglacial hydrological system has an important component, which able to store and rapidly drain any volumes of meltwater. This mysterious drainage process is not fully understood by the scientists, as well its influence on the ice flow itself.

According to Dr Livingstone:

” Our results provide key constraints for the investigation of modern subglacial lakes beneath the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets.”

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