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Measurement of vertical strain and velocity at Siple Dome, Antarctica, with optical sensors

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Abstract:

As part of a larger program to measure and model vertical strain around Siple Dome on the West Antarctic ice sheet, we developed a new sensor to accurately and stably record displacements. The sensors consist of optical fibers, encased in thin-wall stainless-steel tubes, frozen into holes drilled with hot water, and stretched from the surface to various depths (up to 985 m) in the ice sheet. An optical system, connected annually to the fibers, reads out their absolute lengths with a precision of about 2 mm. Two sets of five sensors were installed in the 1997/98 field season: one set is near the Siple Dome core hole (an ice divide), and a second set is on the flank 7 km to the north (the ice thickness at both sites is approximately 1000 m). The optical-fiber length observations taken in four field seasons spanning a 3 year interval reveal vertical strain rates ranging from -229 ± 4 ppm a-1 to -7 ± 9 ppm a-1. In addition to confirming a non-linear constitutive relationship for deep ice, our analysis of the strain rates indicates the ice sheet is thinning at the flank and is in steady state at the divide.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3189/172756502781831421

Publication date: 2002-03-01

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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.

    Beginning in 2016, content will be available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-glaciology.
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