Observed rapid bedrock uplift in Amundsen Sea Embayment promotes ice-sheet stability

Valentin Roberta Barletta, Michael Bevis, Benjamin E. Smith, Terry Wilson, Andrea Bordoni, Michael Willis, Marc Rovira Navarro, Ian Dalziel, Robert Smalley Jr, Richard C. Aster, Andy Nyblade, Douglas A. Wiens, More Authors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

123 Citations (Scopus)


The marine portion of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) in the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE) accounts for one-fourth of the cryospheric contribution to global sea-level rise and is vulnerable to catastrophic collapse. The bedrock response to ice mass loss, glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), was thought to occur on a time scale of 10,000 years. We used new GPS measurements, which show a rapid (41 millimeters per year) uplift of the ASE, to estimate the viscosity of the mantle underneath. We found a much lower viscosity (4 × 1018 pascal-second) than global average, and this shortens the GIA response time scale to decades up to a century. Our finding requires an upward revision of ice mass loss from gravity data of 10% and increases the potential stability of the WAIS against catastrophic collapse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1335-1339
Issue number6395
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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