Englacial water distribution in a temperate glacier from surface and borehole radar velocity analysis

Murray, Tavi; Stuart, Graham W.; Fry, Matt ORCID:; Gamble, Nicola H.; Crabtree, Mike D.. 2000 Englacial water distribution in a temperate glacier from surface and borehole radar velocity analysis. Journal of Glaciology, 46 (154). 389-398.

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We have obtained common offset, common midpoint (CMP) and borehole vertical (VRP) ground-penetrating radar profiles close to the margin of Falljökull, a small, steep temperate valley glacier situated in southeast Iceland. Velocity analysis of CMP and VRP surveys provided a four-layered velocity model. This model was verified by comparison between the depths of englacial reflectors and water channels seen in borehole video, and from the depths of boreholes drilled to the bed. In the absence of sediment within the glacier ice, radar velocity is inversely proportional to water content. Using mixture models developed by Paren and Looyenga, the variation of water content with depth was determined from the radar velocity profile. At the glacier surface the calculated water content is 0.23−0.34% (velocity 0.166 m ns−1), which rises sharply to 3.0−4.1% (velocity 0.149 m ns−1) at 28 m depth, interpreted to be the level of the piezometric surface. Below the piezometric surface the water content drops slowly to 2.4−3.3% (velocity 0.152 m ns−1) until ∼102 m depth where it falls to 0.09−0.14% (velocity 0.167 m ns−1). The water content of the ice then remains low to the glacier bed at about 112 m. These results suggest storage of a substantial volume of water within the glacier ice, which has significant implications for glacier hydrology, ice rheology and interpretations of both radar and seismic surveys

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Other
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: _ Pre-2000 sections
ISSN: 0022-1430
NORA Subject Terms: Glaciology
Date made live: 30 Oct 2012 14:39 +0 (UTC)

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