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Seismic observations of a complex firn structure across the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica / Hannes Hollmann, Adam Treverrow, Leo E. Peters, Anya M. Reading, Bernd Kulessa

Journal of Glaciology, Pages: 1 - 11

Swansea University Author: Bernd Kulessa

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DOI (Published version): 10.1017/jog.2021.21

Abstract

We use seismic refraction data to investigate the firn structure across a suture zone on the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, and the possible role of glacier dynamics in firn evolution. In the downstream direction, the data reveal decreasing compressional-wave velocities and increasing penetration...

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Published in: Journal of Glaciology
ISSN: 0022-1430 1727-5652
Published: Cambridge University Press (CUP) 2021
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa56893
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Abstract: We use seismic refraction data to investigate the firn structure across a suture zone on the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, and the possible role of glacier dynamics in firn evolution. In the downstream direction, the data reveal decreasing compressional-wave velocities and increasing penetration depth of the propagating wave in the firn layer, consistent with 1 m firn thickening every 6 km. The boundary between the Lambert Glacier unit to the west and a major suture zone and the Mawson Escarpment Ice Stream unit to the east, is marked by differences in firn thicknesses, compressional-wave velocities and seismic anisotropy in the across-flow direction. The latter does not contradict the presence of a single-maximum crystal orientation fabric oriented 45– away from the flow direction. This is consistent with the presence of transverse simple shear governing the region's underlying ice flow regime, in association with elevated strain along the suture zone. The confirmation and quantification of the implied dynamic coupling between firn and the underlying ice requires integration of future seismic refraction, coring and modelling studies. Because firn is estimated to cover 98% of the Antarctic continent any such coupling may have widespread relevance to ice-sheet evolution and flow.
Keywords: Polar firn; seismics; snow mechanics
College: College of Science
Start Page: 1
End Page: 11