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Seismic wave attenuation in the uppermost glacier ice of Storglacïaren, Sweden

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We conducted seismic refraction surveys in the upper ablation area of Storglacïaren, a small valley glacier located in Swedish Lapland. We estimated seismic-wave attenuation using the spectral-ratio method on the energy travelling in the uppermost ice with an average temperature of approximately −1°C. Attenuation values were derived between 100 and 300 Hz using the P-wave quality factor,QP, the inverse of the internal friction. By assuming constant attenuation along the seismic line we obtained mean QP = 6 ± 1. We also observed that QP varies from 8 ± 1 to 5 ± 1 from the near-offset to the far-offset region of the line, respectively. Since the wave propagates deeper at far offsets, this variation is interpreted by considering the temperature profile of the study area; far-offset arrivals sampled warmer and thus more-attenuative ice. Our estimates are considerably lower than those reported for field studies in polar ice (∼500–1700 at −28°C and 50–160 at −10°C) and, hence, are supportive of laboratory experiments that show attenuation increases with rising ice temperature. Our results provide new in situ estimates of QP for glacier ice and demonstrate a valuable method for future investigations in both alpine and polar ice.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2010

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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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