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Tidal flexure along ice-sheet margins: comparison of InSAR with an elastic-plate model

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We compare interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) observations of tidal flexure on Antarctic and Greenland glaciers with a finite-element model simulation of tidal flexure on an elastic plate of ice. The results show that the elastic-plate model is able to reproduce with good fidelity the pattern of tidal flexure observed with InSAR. In the case of David Glacier, Antarctica, the model provides independent confirmation of its grounding-line position and unusual pattern of tidal flexure. A detailed analysis of temporal changes in tidal flexing on Petermann Gletscher, Greenland, and Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica, however, reveals that Young's elastic modulus of ice, E, employed in the simulations to match observations, needs to vary between 0.8 and 3.5 GPa. This time dependence of E is attributed to visco-plastic effects, not to a migration of the grounding line with tide, or measurement errors.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-01-01

More about this publication?
  • 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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