We use aerogeophysical data to estimate the distribution of marine subglacial sediments and fault-bounded sedimentary basins beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). We find that significant ice flow occurs exclusively in regions covered by subglacial sediments. The onsets and lateral margins of ice streams coincide with the limit of marine sediments. Lateral margins are also consistently linked with fault-bounded basins. We predict that the inland migration of ice streams B and C-1 towards the ice divide outside the region covered by marine or rift sediments is unlikely. The subglacial geology has the potential to modulate the dynamic evolution of the ice streams and the WAIS.
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