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Ice crystal properties of amber ice and strain enhancement at the base of cold Antarctic glaciers

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To improve our understanding of the deformation properties of cold-based polar glaciers, we examine here some of the factors leading to the localization of strain within the amber ice facies. We present a crystallographic case study of amber ice (a fine-grained bubbly ice containing a relatively high impurity content) sampled at the base of two Antarctic glaciers. The crystal fabrics and textures of amber ice were computed by application of a recently developed automated method. To date, it was tedious and awkward to determine amber ice facies accurately because of the sub-millimetric crystal size and relatively high debris content of this facies. The authomatic analytical method applied in this study allows not only for improving analytical accuracy in this task but also for considerably reducing the time of analysis. Our investigations reveal highly homogeneous crystallographic properties for the studied amber ice. The ice crystals are mainly polygonal, equant and sub-millimetric, and show a strong lattice-preferred orientation. These properties, beside the relatively high impurity content, are likely to exert a major control on strain enhancement in amber ice when this facies is present at the base of cold glaciers.

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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