Rutford Ice Stream

Radarsat image of ice streams, including the Rutford, flowing into the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf
Map of Northern Sentinel Range and upper Rutford Ice Stream.
Map of Sentinel Range and Rutford Ice Stream.
Map of Heritage Range and lower Rutford Ice Stream.

Rutford Ice Stream (79°00′S 81°00′W / 79.000°S 81.000°W / -79.000; -81.000Coordinates: 79°00′S 81°00′W / 79.000°S 81.000°W / -79.000; -81.000) is a major Antarctic ice stream, about 180 miles long and over 15 miles wide, which drains southeastward between the Sentinel Range, Ellsworth Mountains and Fletcher Ice Rise into the southwest part of Ronne Ice Shelf. Named by US-ACAN for geologist Robert Hoxie Rutford, a member of several USARP expeditions to Antarctica; leader of the University of Minnesota Ellsworth Mountains Party, 1963-1964. Rutford served as Director of the Division of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation, 1975-1977.[1]

The ice stream is situated in a deep trough which is a tectonic feature between the Ellsworth Mountains and the Fletcher Promontory. Because of this the ice stream position may have been stable for millions of years. The bed of the ice stream reaches 2000 m below sea level. Therefore between the bed of the ice stream and the height of the Ellsworth Mountains there is a vertical relief of 7 km over a distance of only 40 km.[2] At the upper (inland) end of the ice stream the ice thickness reaches 3100 m falling to around 2300 m in the trough. Flow speed reaches a maximum of around 400 metres per year about 40 km inland from where the ice stream meets the Ronne Ice Shelf and starts to float on the sea.[2]

The speed of the Rutford ice stream varies by as much as 20% every two weeks, in response to variations in the tides.[3]

Tributary glaciers

See also


  1. "Rutford Ice Stream". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-11-06.
  2. 1 2 Doake, C.; H. Corr; A. Jenkins; K. Makinson; K. Nichalls; C. Nath; A. Smith & D. Vaughan (2001). "Rutford Ice Stream, Antarctica". In Alley, Richard & Bindschadler, Robert. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet: Behaviour and Environment. American Geophysical Union. pp. 221–235. ISBN 0-87590-957-4.
  3. ScienceDaily, Tidal Motion Influences Antarctic Ice Sheet Dec. 24, 2006

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Geological Survey document "Rutford Ice Stream" (content from the Geographic Names Information System).

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