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Water-Pressure Coupling of Sliding and Bed Deformation: II. Velocity-Depth Profiles

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Basal motion of a glacier resting on an unconsolidated bed can arise from sliding between ice and bed, ploughing of clasts through the upper layer of the bed, pervasive deformation of the bed, or shearing across discrete planes in the bed. Theoretical analyses and limited observations of soft-bedded glaciers not dominated by supply of channelized melt water from the surface suggest that sliding will be slow if the bed contains abundant clasts in the 1-10 mm size range, and that high velocities by ploughing are unlikely though possible. Pervasive deformation usually will account for 60–100% of the basal velocity, and the strain-rate will be proportional to the basal shear stress and inversely proportional to the square or cube of the effective pressure. These hypotheses are based on results of part I in this series, and allow modeling of Ice Stream B, West Antarctica, in part III of this series.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/002214389793701518

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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