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The role of lateral and vertical shear in tributary flow toward a West Antarctic ice stream

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Abstract:

Narrow lateral shear margins are the most distinctive visual feature of the West Antarctic ice streams. Large shear stresses within these layers support the majority of the gravitational driving stress within a fast-flowing ice stream. The present contribution looks upstream, to the tributaries that feed ice-stream onsets, and considers the effects of both horizontal and vertical shear on their flow. Numerical and direct simulations of vertical and horizontal shear are used. Vertical shear, simulated using an anisotropic flow law, is of particular interest. We conclude that by isolating overlying ice from large-amplitude variations in bed elevation, "vertical shear margins" play an important role in sustaining relatively rapid tributary flow.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3189/172756403781816194

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.

    Beginning in 2016, content will be available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/annals-of-glaciology.

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