Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Iceberg-capsize tsunamigenesis

  • Douglas R. MacAyeal (a1), Dorian S. Abbot (a1) and Olga V. Sergienko (a2)

Abstract

Calving from the floating termini of outlet glaciers and ice shelves is just the beginning of an interesting chain of events that can subsequently have important impacts on human life and property. Immediately after calving, many icebergs capsize (roll over by 90°) due to the instability of their initial geometry. As icebergs melt and respond to the cumulative effects of ocean swell, they can also reorient their mass distribution by further capsize and fragmentation. These processes release gravitational potential energy and can produce impulsive large-amplitude surface-gravity waves known as tsunamis (a term derived from the Japanese language). Iceberg-capsize tsunamis in Greenland fjords can be of sufficient amplitude to threaten human life and cause destruction of property in settlements. Iceberg-capsize tsunamis may also have a role in determining why some ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula disintegrate ‘explosively’ in response to general environmental warming. To quantify iceberg tsunami hazards we investigate iceberg-capsize energetics, and develop a rule relating tsunami height to iceberg thickness. This rule suggests that the open-water tsunami height (located far from the iceberg and from shorelines where the height can be amplified) has an upper limit of 0.01H where H is the initial vertical dimension of the iceberg.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Iceberg-capsize tsunamigenesis
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Iceberg-capsize tsunamigenesis
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Iceberg-capsize tsunamigenesis
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

References

Hide All
Allaire, P.E. 1972. Stability of simple shaped icebergs. J. Can. Petrol. Tech. , 11(1), 21–25.
Amundson, J.M.,M. Truffer, M.P. Lüthi, M. Fahnestock, West, M. and Motyka, R.J.. 2008. Glacier, fjord, and seismic response to recent large calving events, Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland. Geophys. Res. Lett. , 35(22), L22501. (10.1029/2008GL035281.)
Amundson, J.M., Fahnestock, M., Truffer, M., Brown, J., Lüthi, M.P. and Motyka, R.J.. 2010. Ice mélange dynamics and implications for terminus stability, Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland. J. Geophys. Res. , 115(F1), F01005. (10.1029/2009JF001405.)
Bass, D.W. 1980. Stability of icebergs. Ann. Glaciol. , 1, 43–47.
Benedict, C.P. 1980. Dimensional modelling of icebergs. Cold Reg. Sci. Technol. , 1(3–4), 299–306.
Buckingham, E. 1914. On physically similar systems: illustrations of the use of dimensional equations. Phys. Rev. , 4(4), 345–376.
Dutykh, D. and Dias, F.. 2009. Energy of tsunami waves generated by bottom motion. Proc. R. Soc. London, Ser. A , 465(2103), 725–744.
Fritz, H.M. 2002. Initial phase of landslide generated impulse waves. (PhD thesis, ETH Zü rich.)
Guttenberg, N. and 6 others. In press. Numerical model of ice melange expansion during abrupt ice-shelf collapse. Ann. Glaciol., 52(59).
Joughin, I. and 8 others. 2008. Ice-front variation and tidewater behavior on Helheim and Kangerdlugssuaq Glaciers, Greenland. J. Geophys. Res. , 113(F1), F01004. (10.1029/ 2007JF000837.)
Lewis, J.C. and Bennett, G.. 1984. Monte Carlo calculations of iceberg draft changes caused by roll. Cold Reg. Sci. Technol. , 10(1), 1–10.
MacAyeal, D.R., Scambos, T.A., Hulbe, C.L. and Fahnestock, M.A.. 2003. Catastrophic ice-shelf break-up by an ice-shelf-fragment-capsize mechanism. J. Glaciol. , 49(164), 22–36.
MacAyeal, D.R., Okal, E.A., Aster, R.C. and Bassis, J.N.. 2009. Seismic observations of glaciogenic ocean waves (micro-tsunamis) on icebergs and ice shelves. J. Glaciol. , 55(190), 193–206.
Nettles, M. and 12 others. 2008. Step-wise changes in glacier flow speed coincide with calving and glacial earthquakes at Helheim Glacier, Greenland. Geophys. Res. Lett. , 35(24), L24503. (10.1029/2008GL036127.)
Nye, J.F. and Potter, J.R.. 1980. The use of catastrophe theory to analyse the stability and toppling of icebergs. Ann. Glaciol. , 1, 49–54.
Okal, E.A. 2003. Normal mode-energetics for far-field tsunamis generated by dislocations and landslides. Pure Appl. Geophys. , 160(10–11), 2189–2221.
Okal, E.A. 2008. The excitation of tsunamis by earthquakes. In Bernard, E.N. and Robinson, A.R., eds. The sea: ideas and observations in progress on the study of the seas. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 137–177.
Okal, E.A. and Synolakis, C.E.. 2003. A theoretical comparison of tsunamis from dislocations and landslides. Pure Appl. Geophys. , 160(10–11), 2177–2188.
Scambos, T. and 7 others. 2009. Ice shelf disintegration by plate bending and hydro-fracture: satellite observations and model results of the 2008 Wilkins Ice Shelf break-ups. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. , 280(1–4), 51–60.
Schwerdtfeger, P. 1980. Iceberg oscillations and ocean waves. Ann. Glaciol. , 1, 63–65.
Van der Veen, C.J. 2002. Calving glaciers. Progr. Phys. Geogr. , 26(1), 96–122.
Weeks, W.F. 1980. Iceberg water: an assessment. Ann. Glaciol. , 1, 5–10.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
  • URL: /core/journals/annals-of-glaciology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed