Totten Glacier

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Totten Glacier is a large glacier draining a major portion of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, through the Budd Coast of Wilkes Land in the Australian Antarctic Territory. The catchment drained by the glacier is estimated at 538,000 km^2 (based on [1]), extending approximately 1100 km into the interior and 750 km across. Totten drains northeastward from the continental ice but turns northwestward at the coast where it terminates in a prominent tongue close east of Cape Waldron. It was first delineated from aerial photographs taken by USN Operation Highjump (1946–47), and named by Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (US-ACAN) for George M. Totten, midshipman on the USS Vincennes of the United States Exploring Expedition (1838–42), who assisted Lt. Charles Wilkes with correction of the survey data obtained by the expedition.

Scientists studying the effects of global warming have proposed that sea water encroachment in the area could destabilize a significant portion of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.[2] Totten is currently losing mass.[3]

Totten Glacier Tongue (66°35′S 116°5′E / 66.583°S 116.083°E / -66.583; 116.083) is a prominent glacier tongue extending seaward from Totten Glacier. Delineated from air photos taken by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump (1946–47) and named by US-ACAN in association with Totten Glacier. Airborne geophysical surveys of the Glacier between 2008 and 2012 showed that deep warm water can access, melt and thin the underside of the ice tongue, potentially accelerating the glacier.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roberts et al.,, Jason (2011). "Refined broad-scale sub-glacial morphology of Aurora Subglacial Basin and East Antarctica derived by an ice-dynamics-based interpolation scheme". The Cryosphere 5: 551–560. doi:10.5194/tc-5-551-2011. 
  2. ^ Pearce, Fred (2007). With Speed and Violence: Why scientists fear tipping points in climate change. Beacon Press Books. ISBN 978-0-8070-8576-9. 
  3. ^ Rignot, Eric et al. (2008). "Recent {Antarctic} ice mass loss from radar interferometry and regional climate modelling". Nature Geosciences 1: 106–110. doi:10.1038/ngeo102. 
  4. ^ Greenbaum, Jamin et al. (2015). "Ocean access to a cavity beneath Totten Glacier in East Antarctica". Nature Geosciences. doi:10.1038/ngeo2388. 

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

Coordinates: 67°00′S 116°20′E / 67.000°S 116.333°E / -67.000; 116.333