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Michael Coughlan

School of Mathematics, University of Manchester, UK

What L-ice Beneath: Meteorites, Antarctica and Stefan Problems

Antarctica contains some of the most productive regions on Earth for collecting meteorites, where the dynamics of upward flowing ice and high-wind ablation rates concentrate large numbers of these cosmological debris onto the surface. However, statistical analysis of collection data indicates that a large number of iron meteorites are unaccounted for. It is proposed that the more conductive iron meteorites may migrate due to englacial solar warming, whereby meteorites close to the surface can conduct enough heat to melt surrounding ice and sink.

This talk will discuss modelling of this process (energy balance models leading to a double free boundary problem) and laboratory experiments performed to support it. Indulgent Antarctic photography is also guaranteed.