Estimating rates of basal motion and internal ice deformation from continuous tilt measurements

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Over a two-year period, continuous measurements of temporal changes in tilt, conducted with a string of tilt meters in a borehole on Unteraargletscher, Bernese Alps, Switzerland, have been used to estimate the basal-motion component. This estimation is based on a comparison of the measurements with synthetic tilt curves, computed using a parameterization of a simplified flow field. The best agreement is found for a ratio of basal motion to forward motion due to ice deformation (slip ratio) equal to about 1.2. Measured tilt curves exhibit a number of different transient features. While an overall increase in tilt angle is observed at every tilt-meter location, two of the sensors recorded anomalous tilt behaviour. These anomalies are characterized by sudden and drastic variations in tilt. A particularly intriguing example of such short-term tilt variations was recorded with a tilt meter positioned 40 m above the bed during the 1997 summer melt season.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 1999

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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