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Preferred slip-band orientations and bending observed in the Dome Concordia (East Antarctica) ice core

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Fabric analysis of the upper 1300 m of the Dome C (East Antarctica) ice core reveals a slight clustering tendency of c axes towards the vertical, which gradually enhances with depth from an initially isotropic orientational distribution of c axes at the free surface. Such a strain-induced anisotropy is compatible with the expected macroscale stress state in a dome, i.e. dominated by vertical compression. Yet, when one analyzes the orientational distribution of the visible gliding layers of individual crystallites (slip bands), the evidence is quite contrasting. Direct observation of slip bands in samples from the Dome C ice core taken from different depths (204–1291 m) indicates a higher slip activity in nearly horizontal planes, in such a manner that >60% of the detected slip bands have an inclination of <30° with respect to the horizontal. Furthermore, the observed slip activity is not symmetric, i.e. the number of slip bands discerned at 20°, say, is usually not comparable with the number found at 160°. Such features are not consistent with the predicted slip activity induced by compression and/or extension. In this work, we present evidence for this unexpected orientational distribution of slip bands and discuss some of the possible causes. Natural and artificial agents are investigated, together with their respective consequences for ice-sheet modeling and ice-core processing. Additionally, we show the occurrence of bent slip bands in certain crystallites. Such a bending represents an early stage of polygonization, and highlights the strong inhomogeneity of deformation at the crystal level. Moreover, it indicates that polygonization might be mathematically interpreted as a continuous process of rotation, characterized by the divergence of c axes from a common direction.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2004

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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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