Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Waterfall ice: mechanical stability of vertical structures

  • J. Weiss (a1), M. Montagnat (a1), B. Cinquin-Lapierre (a1), P.A. Labory (a1), L. Moreau (a2), F. Damilano (a3) and D. Lavigne (a3)...

Abstract

We present a study of the mechanical (in)stability of the ephemeral waterfall ice structures that form from the freezing of liquid water seeping on steep rock. Three vertical structures were studied, two near Glacier d’Argentière, France, and one in the Valsavarenche valley, northern Italy. The generation of internal stresses in the ice structure in relation to air- and ice-temperature conditions is analyzed from pressure sensor records. Their role in the mechanical instability of the structures is discussed from a photographic survey of these structures. The main result is that dramatic air cooling (several °Ch−1 over several hours) and low temperatures (<−10°C), generating tensile stresses and brittleness, can trigger a spontaneous or climber-induced mechanical collapse, leading to unfavorable climbing conditions. Ice internal pressure fluctuations are also associated with episodes of marked diurnal air-temperature cycle, with mild days (few above 0 ) and cool nights (few below 0 ), through the occurrence of water ↔ ice phase transitions within the structure. These ice internal stress fluctuations seem, however, to have a local influence, are associated with warm (near 0 ), wet and therefore particularly soft ice and do not trigger a collapse of the structure.

  • 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.

      Waterfall ice: mechanical stability of vertical structures
      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.

      Waterfall ice: mechanical stability of vertical structures
      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.

      Waterfall ice: mechanical stability of vertical structures
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

References

Hide All
Bianchi, A. 2004. Frozen waterfalls: how they develop, how they collapse. Milan, International Federation of Mountain Guides Association. (Internal Report.)
De la Chapelle, S., Milsch, H., Castelnau, O. and Duval, P.. 1999. Compressive creep of ice containing a liquid intergranular phase: rate-controlling processes in the dislocation creep regime. Geophys. Res. Lett., 26(2), 251254.
Duval, P. 1977. The role of the water content on the creep rate of polycrystalline ice. IAHS Publ. 118 (Symposium at Grenoble 1975 – Isotopes and Impurities in Snow and Ice), 2933.
Gammon, P.H., Kiefte, H., Clouter, M.J. and Denner, W.W.. 1983. Elastic constants of artificial and natural ice samples by Brillouin spectroscopy. J. Glaciol., 29(103), 433460.
Greene, E., Wiesinger, T., Birkeland, K., Coléou, C., Jones, A. and Statham, G.. 2006. Fatal avalanche accidents and forecasted danger levels: patterns in the United States, Canada, Switzerland and France. In Gleason, J.A., ed. Proceedings of the International Snow Science Workshop, 1–6 October 2006, Telluride, Colorado. Telluride, CO, International Snow Science Workshop, 640649.
Hobbs, P.V. 1974. Ice physics. Oxford, etc., Clarendon Press.
Lee, R.W. and Schulson, E.M.. 1988. The strength and ductility of ice under tension. J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. ASME, 110(2), 187191.
Montagnat, M. and 6 others. 2010. Waterfall ice: formation, structure and evolution. J. Glaciol., 56(196), 225234.
Schulson, E.M. and Duval, P.. 2009. Creep and fracture of ice. Cambridge, etc., Cambridge University Press.
Schulson, E.M., Lim, P.N. and Lee, R.W.. 1984. A brittle to ductile transition in ice under tension. Phil. Mag. A, 49(3), 353363.

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