Algae River

An extensive drainage system in the Bunger Hills, East Antarctica

John A.E. Gibson, Damian B. Gore, Enn Kaup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

An extensive terrestrial drainage system, centred on Algae Lake in southern Bunger Hills, is described. The 25-km-long Algae River is the third longest known in Antarctica after Onyx River (Wright Valley, Victoria Land) and Druzhby River (Vestfold Hills, Queen Elizabeth Land). Algae River receives meltwater from the Antarctic ice sheet, Apfel Glacier, and ephemeral and permanent snow banks in the ice-free area of the Bunger Hills. Water flows through a series of epiglacial lakes before reaching the extensive Algae Lake, which in turn has an outlet to Transkriptsii Gulf, a largely fresh-water, tidal epishelf lake connected to the ocean under the Edisto Ice Tongue and Shackleton Ice Shelf. Total flow from Algae Lake was estimated to be greater than 1 x 107 m3 a-1 from data collected in the 1986/87 summer. Some portions of the drainage system that were flowing during the 1946/47, 1985/86, 1986/87, 1994/95, 1995/96, and 1998/99 summers were not flowing during the 1999/2000 summer, indicating the variable nature of discharge in the river and emphasising that parts of the drainage network may become disconnected readily.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-152
Number of pages12
JournalPolar Record
Volume38
Issue number205
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2002 Cambridge University Press. Reprinted from Polar record.

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