We present measurements of the density, hydraulic conductivity, and specific discharge of a widespread firn aquifer in Antarctica, within the Wilkins Ice Shelf. At the field site, the aquifer is 16.2 m thick, starting at 13.4 m from the snow surface and transitioning from water‐saturated firn to ice at 29.6 m. Hydraulic conductivity derived from slug tests show a geometric mean value of 1.4 ± 1.2 × 10−4 m s−1, equivalent to permeability of 2.6 ± 2.2 × 10−11 m2. A borehole dilution test indicates an average specific discharge value of 1.9 ± 2.8 × 10−6 m s−1. Ground‐penetrating radar profiles and a groundwater flow model show the aquifer is draining laterally into a large nearby rift. Our findings indicate that the firn aquifer in the vicinity of the field site is likely not in a steady state and its presence likely contributed to past ice shelf instability.
|Title||Hydrologic properties of a highly permeable firn aquifer in the Wilkins Ice Shelf, Antarctica|
|Authors||Lynn Montgomery, C. Miege, Julie MIller, Bruce Wallin, Olivia L. Miller, Ted A. Scambos, D Kip Solomon, Richard Forster, Lora Koenig|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Geophysical Research Letters|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Utah Water Science Center|