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Flow Laws For Glacier Ice: Comparison Of Numerical Predictions And Field Measurements

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Ice flow along the 20 km long strain network up-stream of the Dye 3 bore hole in Greenland is studied in detail. By solving the force-balance equations and using selected flow laws, stresses and strain-rates are calculated throughout the section of the ice sheet. The validity of the results is evaluated by comparison with the velocity profile derived from bore-hole-tilting measurements, and with observed surface strain-rates. A number of constitutive relations are tried and most predict a velocity profile at the bore-hole site that is in good agreement with that observed, if appropriate enhancement factors are used. However, there are major discrepancies between modelled and measured surface strain-rates. Use of Nye’s generalization of Glen’s flow law, or an anisotropic constitutive relation, requires unrealistically large along-flow variations in the enhancement factor. Inclusion of normal stress effects can lead to much better agreement, but it is possible that other processes, such as dynamic recrystallization or primary creep, should be included in the constitutive relation of polar ice.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 1990

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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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