Antarctic subglacial lakes

Martin J. Siegert, John Woodward, George Royston-Bishop

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Subglacial lakes are large pockets of water that lie beneath large ice sheets. Despite mean annual ice surface temperatures of below −50°C, background levels of geothermal heating (∼50 mW m−2) ensure that, where the ice is in excess of 3 km thick, basal temperatures can reach the pressure melting point. Subglacial water flows under the influence of gravity and ice overburden pressure. It can flow “uphill” if the magnitude of the ice surface slope is greater than 1/10th of the bedrock slope. Water collects, however, where basal slopes are larger, to form subglacial lakes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Lakes and Reservoirs
EditorsLars Bengtsson, Reginald W. Herschy, Rhodes W. Fairbridge
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)9781402044106
ISBN (Print)9781402056161
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameEncyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series
ISSN (Print)1388-4360
ISSN (Electronic)1871-756X


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