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Crevasses triggered on Pine Island Glacier by drilling through an exceptional melt layer

Scott, Julian; Smith, Andrew ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8577-482X; Bingham, Robert; Vaughan, David ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9065-0570. 2010 Crevasses triggered on Pine Island Glacier by drilling through an exceptional melt layer. Annals of Glaciology, 51 (55). 65-70. https://doi.org/10.3189/172756410791392763

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Abstract/Summary

The basic theory of crevasse formation suggests that crevasses initiate at or near the surface. However, due to variations in stress with depth, it has been suggested that it is possible for crevasses to initiate at depths of 10–30m. From December 2006 to January 2007, hot-water drilling on Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica, was found to trigger crevasses. Satellite imagery and field investigations in 2008, including ice cores, radar and GPS, revealed that these formed a new band of arcuate (curvilinear) crevasses around 70 km long and 100 m deep. This new band is located 10 km upstream from the previous limit of the arcuate crevasse zone. The crevasses were triggered on drilling through an exceptional ice layer at >20m depth. Ice layers within the firn will change both the strength and stress intensity. As the firn changes spatially and temporally (e.g. with the burial of an ice layer), it is possible for the position of crevasse initiation to change whilst the along-stream strain-rate profile remains constant. However, the main cause of an upstream migration of the arcuate crevasse zone on Pine Island Glacier is still likely to be an increase in strain rate.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.3189/172756410791392763
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Global Science in the Antarctic Context (2005-2009) > Glacial Retreat in Antarctica and Deglaciation of the Earth System
BAS Programmes > Polar Science for Planet Earth (2009 - ) > Ice Sheets
ISSN: 0260-3055
NORA Subject Terms: Glaciology
Date made live: 30 Jun 2010 10:15 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/9449

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