Unusual Radar Echoes from the Greenland Ice Sheet

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Science  24 Sep 1993:
Vol. 261, Issue 5129, pp. 1710-1713
DOI: 10.1126/science.261.5129.1710


Airborne radar images of part of the Greenland ice sheet reveal icy terrain whose radar properties are unique among radar-studied terrestrial surfaces but resemble those of Jupiter's icy Galilean satellites. The 5.6- and 24-centimeter-wavelength echoes from the Greenland percolation zone, like the 3.5- and 13-centimeter-wavelength echoes from the icy satellites, are extremely intense and have anomalous circular and linear polarization ratios. However, the detailed subsurface configurations of the Galilean satellite regoliths, where heterogeneities are the product of prolonged meteoroid bombardment, are unlikely to resemble that within the Greenland percolation zone, where heterogeneities are the product of seasonal melting and refreezing.