Laboratory studies of the flow rates of debris-laden ice
Abstract:Ice-sheet basal ice is warmer than that above because of the heat from the Earth's interior. The stresses acting on the basal ice are greatest. In addition, the basal ice often contains debris consisting of silt and small stones picked up from the rock over which the ice flows. Because the base is the warmest part of an ice sheet and the stress there is greatest, flow rates in the basal ice are large and often contribute most of the ice movement. It is therefore important, for accurate modelling of the ice sheets, to know whether the debris within the basal ice enhances or retards the flow of the ice. In this paper, we describe laboratory deformation tests in uniaxial compression and in simple shear, on sand-laden ice. We find no significant dependence of flow rate on sand content (up to 15% volume) in the stress range 0.13-0.5 MPa and temperature range -0.02 to -18.0°C. Further work needs to include laboratory tests on debris-laden ice extracted from the polar ice sheets. This work is underway.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2003-06-01
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