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Mechanical and hydraulic properties of till beneath Bakaninbreen, Svalbard

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Bakaninbreen, Svalbard, was in the late phase of a prolonged surge during 1995-96. In order to investigate the nature of the basal mechanical and hydraulic regime, sets of tilt sensors equipped with pore-pressure sensors were installed into the basal till layer. Water-pressure transducers were also installed in the boreholes above the ice-till interface. During 1995, the measured mean strain rate in the till was 0.44 a-1 up-glacier of the surge front, while down-glacier the rate was 0.04 a-1. Our interpretation indicates that deformation was the dominant component of basal motion. Strain rates fluctuated strongly, and periods of both positive (down-glacier) and negative (up-glacier) strain occurred. No consistent relationship was apparent between effective pressure and strain rate within the basal till layer. The viscosity of the basal sediments ranged from 1.3 × 1012 to 3.4 × 1012 Pa s. Such high values suggest that the till layer beneath Bakaninbreen may be partially frozen. Analysis of simultaneous measurements of pore-water and borehole water pressure suggests the hydraulic diffusivity of the till layer ranges from 1.2 to 5.0 × 10-6 m2 s-1, and the hydraulic conductivity from 3.2 × 10-7 to 7.7 × 10-8 m s-1.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 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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