Radar sounding survey over Devon Ice Cap indicates the potential for a diverse hypersaline subglacial hydrological environment

Anja Rutishauser, Donald D. Blankenship, Duncan A. Young, Natalie S. Wolfenbarger, Lucas H. Beem, Mark L. Skidmore, Ashley Dubnick, Alison S. Criscitiello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Prior geophysical surveys provided evidence for a hypersaline subglacial lake complex beneath the center of Devon Ice Cap, Canadian Arctic; however, the full extent and characteristics of the hydrological system remained unknown due to limited data coverage. Here, we present results from a new, targeted aerogeophysical survey that provides evidence (i) supporting the existence of a subglacial lake complex and (ii) for a network of shallow brine/saturated sediments covering ∼170 km2. Newly resolved lake shorelines indicate three closely spaced lakes covering a total area of 24.6 km2. These results indicate the presence of a diverse hypersaline subglacial hydrological environment with the potential to support a range of microbial habitats, provide important constraints for future investigations of this compelling scientific target, and highlight its relevance as a terrestrial analog for aqueous systems on other icy worlds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-395
Number of pages17
JournalThe Cryosphere
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2022

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate

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