|Title||Spatial patterns of major ions and their relationship to sediment concentration in near surface glacier ice, Taylor Valley Antarctica|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2023|
|Authors||Bergstrom, AJ, Welch, KA, Gooseff, MN|
|Journal||Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface|
Glaciers form the headwaters of many watersheds and, in arid polar environments, can provide the vast majority of water to downstream systems. Headwater watersheds are critically important for setting the chemistry for downstream systems, yet we know comparatively little about the patterns and processes that generate the geochemical signature of meltwater on glacier surfaces. Here, we focus on glaciers in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica, the largest ice-free area on the continent, characterized by alpine glaciers flowing into broad, rocky valleys. We examine patterns from the coast inland, accumulation to ablation zones, laterally across individual glaciers, and through the zone of meltwater generation. We directly compare solute to sediment concentrations, a major source of dissolved solutes. Our findings agree with previous work that the overall meltwater chemistry of a given glacier is a product local sediment sources and of regional wind patterns: foehn winds moving from the ice sheet to the coast and on-shore sea breezes. Further, these patterns hold across an individual glacier. Finally, we find that the ice chemistry and sediment profiles reflect freeze-thaw and melt processes that occur at depth. This indicates that the transport and weathering of sediment in the ice profile likely has a strong influence on supra- and proglacial stream chemistry. This new understanding strengthens connections between physical and geochemical processes in cold-based polar glacier environments and helps us better understand the processes driving landscape and ecosystem connectivity.
|Short Title||JGR Earth Surface|