Doris measures a glacier's drift

Doris beacon on the Sorsdal Glacier, East Antarctica (photos courtesy of Dr Ramesh Govind)
Doris beacon on the Sorsdal Glacier, East Antarctica

The Sorsdal Glacier is one of the key polar outlet glaciers that contribute to the drainage of the East Antarctic ice sheet. The objective of the investigation is to identify and monitor zones of fast flowing ice. The measurement of ice movement provides the basic data to compute the strain and strain rates across the ice mass and advance our understanding of glacier dynamics. The Sorsdal Glacier and its drainage basin offer an ideal region to study. Similarly, Doris provides an ideal technique for determining the high temporal resolution of the ice movement in a remote location.

Sorsdal glaciers's movements, as measured by Doris. In one month, the beacon (and the ice above) has moved by about 8 m in longitude and 4 m in latitude (quick processing preliminary results from Space Geodesy Analysis Centre, Geoscience Australia).


During the austral summers between 2001 and 2004, Geoscience Australia (formerly Australian Surveying and Land Information Group, AUSLIG) deployed a Doris beacon on the Sorsdal Glacier, which is located in the vicinity of the Davis Station (68°S-78°E), Australian Antarctic Territory. It is the first site selected for the IDS Doris Pilot Experiment.

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