Soft-bed experiments beneath Engabreen, Norway: regelation infiltration, basal slip and bed deformation
Authors: Iverson, N.R.; Hooyer, T.S.; Fischer, U.H.; Cohen, D.; Moore, P.L.; Jackson, M.; Lappegard, G.; Kohler, J.
Source: Journal of Glaciology, Volume 53, Number 182, July 2007 , pp. 323-340(18)
Publisher: International Glaciological Society
Abstract:To avoid some of the limitations of studying soft-bed processes through boreholes, a prism of simulated till (1.8 m × 1.6 m × 0.45 m) with extensive instrumentation was constructed in a trough blasted in the rock bed of Engabreen, a temperate glacier in Norway. Tunnels there provide access to the bed beneath 213 m of ice. Pore-water pressure was regulated in the prism by pumping water to it. During experiments lasting 7-12 days, the glacier regelated downward into the prism to depths of 50- 80 mm, accreting ice-infiltrated till at rates predicted by theory. During periods of sustained high pore water pressure (70-100% of overburden), ice commonly slipped over the prism, due to a water layer at the prism surface. Deformation of the prism was activated when this layer thinned to a sub-millimeter thickness. Shear strain in the till was pervasive and decreased with depth. A model of slip by ploughing of ice-infiltrated till across the prism surface accounts for the slip that occurred when effective pressure was sufficiently low or high. Slip at low effective pressures resulted from water-layer thickening that increased non-linearly with decreasing effective pressure. If sufficiently widespread, such slip over soft glacier beds, which involves no viscous deformation resistance, may instigate abrupt increases in glacier velocity.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2007-07-01
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