Estimation of water content in a temperate glacier from radar and seismic sounding data
Abstract:Radio-wave velocity measurements in temperate and polythermal glaciers, combined with dielectric mixture formulae by Looyenga or Paren, have been used during the last decade to estimate the water content in temperate ice. We have used a similar mixture formula by Riznichenko, but based on elastic properties of the material, to estimate the water content from seismic velocity data. To compare the suitability of the two methods, we have used seismic and radar data from a temperate glacier on an Antarctic island. The estimated water contents are within 0.4-2.3% (average 1.2 ± 0.6%) when radio-wave velocities are used, and within 0.9-3.2% (average 2.2 ± 0.9%) when seismic velocities are used. These results are similar to those directly measured from ice cores and to those estimated from radar data on other temperate glaciers. The water-content estimates from seismic data are higher than those from radar data, which we attribute to the different behaviour of seismic and radar velocities as functions of density. Near-surface conditions (ice-firn conditions, presence of crevasses, etc.) have a strong influence on the propagation of elastic and electromagnetic waves, and thus on the accuracy of the velocity determinations and water-content estimates, and so should not be disregarded.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2003-06-01
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