Geodetic observations for constraining mantle processes in Antarctica

Mirko Scheinert*, Olga Engels, Ernst J.O. Schrama, Wouter van der Wal, Martin Horwath

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


Geodynamic processes in Antarctica such as glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) and post-seismic deformation are measured by geo-detic observations such as global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and satellite gravimetry. GNSS measurements have comprised both continuous measurements and episodic measurements since the mid-1990s. The estimated velocities typically reach an accuracy of 1 mm a−1 for horizontal velocities and 2 mm a−1 for vertical velocities. However, the elastic deformation due to present-day ice-load change needs to be considered accordingly. Space gravimetry derives mass changes from small variations in the inter-satellite distance of a pair of satellites, starting with the GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellite mission in 2002 and continuing with the GRACE-FO (GRACE Follow-On) mission launched in 2018. The spatial resolution of the measurements is low (about 300 km) but the measurement error is homogeneous across Ant-arctica. The estimated trends contain signals from ice-mass change, and local and global GIA signals. To combine the strengths of the individual datasets, statistical combinations of GNSS, GRACE and satellite altimetry data have been developed. These combinations rely on realistic error estimates and assumptions of snow density. Nevertheless, they capture signals that are missing from geodynamic forward models such as the large uplift in the Amundsen Sea sector caused by a low-viscous response to century-scale ice-mass changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-313
Number of pages19
JournalGeological Society Memoir
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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