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Tools for examining subglacial bed deformation

  • Erik Blake (a1), Garry K. C. Clarke (a1) and Marc C. Gérin (a1)

Abstract

Deformation beneath soft-bedded glaciers may be a physical mechanism that contributes to flow instabilities such as surging. If the role of bed deformation is to be understood, a rheological description is required, but the development of a rheology is hampered by a lack of in situ stress and strain measurements. In this paper, we describe four techniques for measuring subglacial strain. Three of these give continuous strain measurements, a capability that permits calculation of instantaneous strain rates and allows comparison of strain data with other time series. To demonstrate the practicability of the techniques, sample results from three summers of experimentation beneath Trapridge Glacier. Yukon Territory, are presented. The data show that subglacial strain rate can vary in amplitude and polarity on an hourly time-scale,and that the instantaneous strain rate can exceed the mean strain rale by an order of magnitude. Observed negative strain rates suggest extrusive flow within basal sediments.

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Copyright

References

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Abramowitz, M. and I. A., Stegun, eds. 1965. Handbook of mathematical functions with formulas, graphs, and mathematical tables. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Boulton, G.S. and R. C. A., Hindmarsh 1987. Sediment deformation beneath glaciers: rheology and geological consequences. J. Geophys. Res., 92 (B9). 90599082.
Clarke, G.K.C. 1987. Subglacial tilt: a physical framework for its properties and processes. J. Geophys. Res., 92 B9, 90239036.
Clarke,, G.K.C, S.G., Collins and Thompson, D.E. 1984. Flow, thermal structure, and subglacial conditions of a surge-type glacier. Can. J. Earth Sei., 21(2), 232240.
Paterson, W.S.B. 1981. The physics of glaciers. Second edition. Oxford, etc.. Pergamon Press.
Press, W. H., Flannery, B. P., Teukolsky, S.A. and Vctterling, W.T. 1986. Numerical recipes: the art of scientific computing. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

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