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Ice-sheet flow conditions deduced from mechanical tests of ice core

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Uniaxial compression tests were performed on samples of the Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP) deep ice core, both in the field and later in a cold-room laboratory, in order to understand the ice-flow behavior of large ice sheets. Experiments were conducted under conditions of constant strain rate (type A) and constant load (type B). Fifty-four uniaxial-compression test specimens from 1327–2922 m were selected. Each test specimen (25 mm × 25 mm × 90 mm) was prepared with its uniaxial stress axis inclined 45° from the core axis in order to examine the flow behavior of strong single-maximum ice-core samples with basal planes parallel to the horizontal plane of the ice sheet. The ice-flow enhancement factors show a gradual increase with depth down to approximately 2000 m. These results can be interpreted in terms of an increase in the fourth-order Schmid factor. Below 2000 m depth, the flow-enhancement factor increases to about 20–30 with a relatively high variability. When the Schmid factor was > 0.46, the enhancement factor obtained was higher than expected from the c-axis concentrations measured. The higher values of flow-enhancement factor were obtained from specimens with a cloudy band structure. It was revealed that cloudy bands affect ice-deformation processes, but the details remain unclear.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 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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