Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-220
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-220

  06 Aug 2021

06 Aug 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

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

Anja Rutishauser1, Donald D. Blankenship1,2, Duncan A. Young1, Natalie S. Wolfenbarger1, Lucas H. Beem2, Mark L. Skidmore2, Ashley Dubnick3, and Alison S. Criscitiello3 Anja Rutishauser et al.
  • 1Institute for Geophysics, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78758, USA
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA
  • 3Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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.

Anja Rutishauser et al.

Status: open (until 01 Oct 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2021-220', Anonymous Referee #1, 31 Aug 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2021-220', Slawek Tulaczyk, 10 Sep 2021 reply

Anja Rutishauser et al.

Anja Rutishauser et al.

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Short summary
Recently, a hypersaline subglacial lake complex was hypothesized to lie beneath Devon Ice Cap, Canadian Arctic. Here, we present results from a follow-on targeted aerogeophysical survey. Our results support the evidence for a hypersaline subglacial lake, and reveal an extensive brine network, suggesting more complex subglacial hydrological conditions than previously inferred. This hypersaline system may host microbial habitats, making it a compelling analog for bines on other icy worlds.