Subglacial brine flow and wind-induced internal waves in Lake Bonney, Antarctica

TitleSubglacial brine flow and wind-induced internal waves in Lake Bonney, Antarctica
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsLawrence, J, Doran, PT, Winslow, LA, Priscu, JC
JournalAntarctic Science
Date Published02/2020
KeywordsDry valleys, hypersalinity, lakes, proglacial, temperature

Brine beneath Taylor Glacier has been proposed to enter the proglacial west lobe of Lake Bonney (WLB) as well as from Blood Falls, a surface discharge point at the Taylor Glacier terminus. The brine strongly influences the geochemistry of the water column of WLB. Year-round measurements from this study are the first to definitively identify brine intrusions from a subglacial entry point into WLB. Furthermore, we excluded input from Blood Falls by focusing on winter dynamics when the absence of an open water moat prevents surface brine entry. Due to the extremely high salinities below the chemocline in WLB, density stratification is dominated by salinity, and temperature can be used as a passive tracer. Cold brine intrusions enter WLB at the glacier face and intrude into the water column at the depth of neutral buoyancy, where they can be identified by anomalously cold temperatures at that depth. High-resolution measurements also reveal under-ice internal waves associated with katabatic wind events, a novel finding that challenges long-held assumptions about the stability of the WLB water column.