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Ground-water intrusions in a mine beneath Høganesbreen, Svalbard: assessing the possibility of evacuating water subglacially

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Evacuation of the ground-water intruding into a coal mine beneath Høganesbreen, Svalbard, is difficult and expensive. To solve this problem, it was proposed that the mine be connected to the ice-bedrock interface. Pumping hot water from the mine should establish a flow path along the glacier bed where the ground-water would drain gravitationally. In this paper, we assess the requirements for maintaining such a drainage system in open-channel conditions. To obtain the bedrock topography, we determined the ice thickness by ground-penetrating radar and subtracted it from the surface elevation measured by global positioning system. A measured temperature profile at the site where the mine should connect to the glacier bed (140 m depth) revealed that the basal ice is below the pressure-melting point. The locations of major subglacial conduits were estimated using a hydraulic-potential approach. We adopted a model of time-dependent discharge through a Röthlisberger channel to calculate a set of scenarios using different flow-law parameters. Results of the simulations suggest that for the given conditions, water flow would be pressurized, thereby inhibiting the gravitational drainage of the mine.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2003

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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