Core Drilling Through the Ross Ice Shelf (Antarctica) Confirmed Basal Freezing

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Science  28 Mar 1980:
Vol. 207, Issue 4438, pp. 1463-1465
DOI: 10.1126/science.207.4438.1463


New techniques that have been used to obtain a continuous ice core through the whole 416-meter thickness of the Ross Ice Shelf at Camp J-9 have demonstrated that the bottom 6 meters of the ice shelf consists of sea ice. The rate of basal freezing that is forming this ice is estimated by different methods to be 2 centimeters of ice per year. The sea ice is composed of large vertical crystals, which form the waffle-like lower boundary of the shelf. A distinct alignment of the crystals throughout the sea ice layer suggests the presence of persistent long-term currents beneath the ice shelf.