Skip to main content

Localized uplift of Vatnajökull, Iceland: subglacial water accumulation deduced from InSAR and GPS observations

The full text article is not available for purchase.

The publisher only permits individual articles to be downloaded by subscribers.

Abstract:

We report on satellite and ground-based observations that link glacier motion with subglacial hydrology beneath Skeiðarárjökull, an outlet glacier of Vatnajökull, Iceland. We have developed a technique that uses interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data, from the European Remote-sensing Satellite (ERS-1/-2) tandem mission (1995–2000), to detect localized anomalies in vertical ice motion. Applying this technique we identify an area of the glacier where these anomalies are frequent: above the subglacial course of the river Skeiðará, where we observed uplift of 0.15–0.20 m d–1 during a rainstorm and a jökulhlaup, and subsidence at a slower rate subsequent to rainstorms. A similar pattern of motion is apparent from continuous GPS measurements obtained at this location in 2006/07. We argue that transient uplift of the ice surface is caused by water accumulating at the glacier base upstream of an adverse bed slope where the overburden pressure decreases significantly over a short distance. Most of the frictional energy of the flowing water is therefore needed to maintain water temperature at the pressure-melting point. Hence, little energy is available to enlarge water channels sufficiently by melting to accommodate sudden influxes of water to the base. This causes water pressure to exceed the overburden pressure, enabling uplift to occur.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3189/002214311796905703

Publication date: 2011-06-01

More about this publication?
  • 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.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more