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Ice/Bed Interface and Englacial Properties of Svalbard Ice Masses Deduced from Airborne Radio Echo-Sounding Data

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A substantial data set of digitally recorded radio echo-sounding data was collected over 44 ice masses in Spitsbergen and the ice caps on Nordaustlandet, Svalbard. These data have allowed quantitative analysis of bed and internal power-reflection coefficients. Substantial regional differences were observed and have been correlated with the presence of water and/or moraine at the bed and with the bulk thermal regime of the ice mass. Values of bed power-reflection coefficient varied between −40 ± 5 and −8 ± 6 dB. It is suggested that the ice caps in north-east Spitsbergen (possessing among the lowest reflection coefficients observed) are frozen to their beds as is much of Austfonna (in Nordaustlandet), and that such values imply the likelihood of a layer of debris-rich ice above the bedrock. It is proposed that significant quantities of water are present at the ice/bed interface of many of the glaciers in north-west Spitsbergen. Further, it is believed that two geological divides were detected. A number of extraordinary internal reflecting horizons are also discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1ER, England

Publication date: January 1, 1989

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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