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Glacier-bed characteristics of midtre Lovénbreen, Svalbard, from high-resolution seismic and radar surveying

King, Edward C.; Smith, Andrew Marshall; Murray, T.; Stuart, G.W.. 2008 Glacier-bed characteristics of midtre Lovénbreen, Svalbard, from high-resolution seismic and radar surveying. Journal of Glaciology, 54 (184). 145-156. 10.3189/002214308784409099

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Abstract/Summary

We conducted a seismic and radar survey of the central part of midtre Lovenbreen, a small, polythermal valley glacier in Svalbard. We determined the physical properties of the material beneath the glacier by measuring the reflection coefficient of the bed by comparing the energy of the primary and multiple reflections, and deriving the acoustic impedance. By making reasonable assumptions about the properties of the basal ice, we determined the acoustic impedance of the bed material as (6.78 +/- 1.53) x 10(6) kg m(-2) s(-1). We interpret the material beneath the glacier to be permafrost with up to 50% ice, and we speculate that the material may be frozen talus similar to a deposit observed directly by others beneath another Svalbard glacier. The implication for midtre Lovenbreen is that the basal material beneath the present glacier is not able to support fast flow. We conclude that midtre Lovenbreen has most likely had limited capability for faster flow in the past, with motion dominated by internal deformation. Midtre Lovenbreen is used as a 'study glacier' for the scientific community in Svalbard, and a large number of studies have been based there. Our results show that it cannot be used as an analogue for larger glaciers in Svalbard, having distinct basal boundary conditions.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3189/002214308784409099
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Global Science in the Antarctic Context (2005-2009) > Glacial Retreat in Antarctica and Deglaciation of the Earth System
ISSN: 0022-1430
NORA Subject Terms: Meteorology and Climatology
Glaciology
Earth Sciences
Date made live: 17 Jan 2011 14:11
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/11545

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