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Glacier–volcano interactions deduced by SAR interferometry

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Glacier-surface displacements produced by geothermal and volcanic activity beneath Vatnajökull ice cap in Iceland are described by field surveys of the surface topography combined with interferograms acquired from repeat-pass synthetic aperture radar images. A simple ice-flow model serves well to confirm the basic interpretation of the observations. The observations cover the period October 1996–January 1999 and comprise: (a) the ice-flow field during the infilling of the depressions created by the subglacial Gjálp eruption of October 1996, (b) the extent and displacement of the floating ice cover of the subglacier lakes of Grímsvötn and the Skaftá cauldrons, (c) surface displacements above the subglacier pathways of the jökulhlaups from the Gjálp eruption site and the Gr Grímsvötn lake, (d) detection of areas of increased basal sliding due to lubrication by water, and (e) detection of spots of temporal displacement that may be related to altering subglacial volcanic activity. At the depression created by the Gjälp eruption, the maximum surface displacement rate away from the radar decreased from 27 cm d−1 to 2 cm d−1 over the periodJanuary 1997–January 1999. The observed vertical displacement of the ice cover of Gr Grímsvötn changed from an uplift rate of 50 cm d−1 to sinking of 48 cm d−1, and for Skaftá cauldrons from 2 cm d−1 to 25 cm d−1.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2001

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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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