Frank O. Nitsche

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
of Columbia University
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Bathymetry of the Amundsen Sea Continental Shelf: Implications for Geology, Oceanography, and Glaciology

Nitsche, F.O., Jacobs, S., Larter, R.D. and Gohl, K., 2007

Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems,8: Q10009, doi:10.1029/2007GC001694


The Amundsen Sea continental shelf is one of the remotest areas of coastal Antarctica, and was relatively unexplored until the late 1980s. Over the last two decades, increased oceanographic and geological interest has led to several cruises that resulted in sufficient bathymetric data to compile a fairly detailed regional map of the Amundsen continental shelf. We have combined available multibeam and singlebeam bathymetry data from various sources and created a new regional bathymetry of the Amundsen Sea continental shelf and margin. Deep trough systems that dominate the inner shelf are aligned with present glaciers and separated by shallower ridges. Shaped by paleo-ice streams, these features merge into a small number of broader troughs on the middle shelf and shoal seaward. They now serve as conduits and reservoirs for relatively warm Circumpolar Deep Water. This new compilation is a major improvement over previously available regional maps and should aid the numerical modeling of ocean circulation, the reconstructions of paleo-ice streams, and the refinement of ice sheet models.

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Frank Nitsche - last update 11/16/2007