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Determination of basal hydraulic systems based on subglacial high-pressure pump experiments

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We have conducted short-term pump experiments with pump pressures exceeding ice overburden to study the seasonality of the subglacial hydraulic system of Engabreen, Norway. Data were collected from load cells installed flush with the ice–bedrock interface and pressure transducers installed in boreholes leading from bedrock tunnels underneath the glacier to the ice–bedrock interface. The water-pressure recordings, seen in relation with the load-cell record, show the existence of hydraulically connected vs unconnected bed areas. Monitored boreholes have been used to inject water at high pressures. Each experiment led to the growth of a high-pressure water cavity whose spatial extent could be inferred from load-cell and pressure transducer records. Post-pump pressures were low after summer pump tests and close to ice-overburden level after winter pump experiments. We conclude that drainage takes place in a fast-flow, low-pressure, channel-based drainage system during summer, and a low-flow, high-pressure, linked-cavity drainage system during winter.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-01-01

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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.

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