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Access of surface meltwater to beds of sub-freezing glaciers: preliminary insights

  • Richard B. Alley (a1), Todd K. Dupont (a1), Byron R. Parizek (a1) and Sridhar Anandakrishnan (a1)

Abstract

Sufficiently deep water-filled fractures can penetrate even cold ice-sheet ice, but glaciogenic stresses are typically smaller than needed to propagate water-filled fractures that are less than a few tens of meters deep, as shown by our simplified analytical treatment based on analogous models of magmatic processes. However, water-filled fractures are inferred to reach the bed of Greenland through >1 km of ice and then collapse to form moulins, which are observed. Supraglacial lakes appear especially important among possible crack ‘nucleation’ mechanisms, because lakes can warm ice, supply water, and increase the pressure driving water flow and ice cracking.

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References

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