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Observational verification of predicted increase in bedrock-to-surface amplitude transfer during a glacier surge

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The amplitude ratio between surface and bedrock topography has been predicted to depend strongly on the ratio of deformational velocity to mean basal sliding velocity. Observations made prior to and during a surge of Tungnaárjökull, Vatnajökull ice cap, Iceland, allow this prediction to be tested. During the surge, the ratio of internal deformational velocity and basal sliding (slip ratio) changed from about unity to a few hundred. The amplitude ratio changed from about 0.1 to about 0.7. This increase in amplitude ratio is in good overall agreement with predictions based on an analytical perturbation analysis for a linearly viscous medium which includes the effects of horizontal deviatoric stresses on glacier flow. An increase in amplitude ratio of this magnitude is not predicted by a similarly linearized analysis that employs the commonly used shallow-ice approximation. The strong increase in transfer amplitude observed in the surge of Tungnaárjökull is a clear illustration of the effects of horizontal stress transmission on glacier flow reported here for the first time.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-01-01

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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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