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Slug-test derived differences in bed hydraulic properties between a surge-type and a non-surge-type Svalbard glacier

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We investigate the differences in subglacial hydraulic properties between Bakaninbreen, a surge-type glacier in southern Svalbard, and midre Lovénbreen, a non-surge-type glacier in northwest Svalbard, using slug tests. At Bakaninbreen, underlain by fine-grained glacial till and marine sediments, slug-test responses were underdamped and are analyzed with the Van der Kamp method using a fully penetrating screen. At midre Lovénbreen, underlain by metres-thick permafrost consisting of coarse clasts, ice and water, slug-test responses were overdamped and are analyzed with the Butler–Garnett method using a partially penetrating screen. We calculate typical hydraulic conductivities of 8.2±7.8 ×10-3 m s-1 for Bakaninbreen, and 1.9± 0.5×10-5 m s-1 for midre Lovénbreen, after correction for a high-conductivity skin. At Bakaninbreen, late surge-induced subglacial sediment dilation probably caused marked hydraulic conductivity enhancement, which could be widespread during times of peak ice flow. We argue that the flow pathways in the permafrost beneath midre Lovénbreen are present, though limited in terms of their discharge capacity, which in combination with drilling-based observations and independent evidence suggests that midre Lovénbreen is not capable of surging.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2003

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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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