We present a model for the determination of a sliding law in the presence of subglacial cavitation. This law determines the basal stress at a clean ice‒bedrock interface in terms of the velocity and effective pressure. The method is based on an exact solution of the Nye—Kamb (linearly viscous) sliding problem with cavities, and uses ideas of Lliboutry (1979) to construct, via renormalization methods, an approximate law for general bedrock form. We show that, for a bedrock whose spectrum has a power‒law behaviour, one obtains a sliding law which gives the basal shear stress proportional to a power of the velocity, and to a power of the effective pressure.
The effect of subglacial cavitation on the drainage system is examined, using recent ideas of Kamb. For sufficiently high velocities, drainage through a Röthlisberger tunnel system is unstable, and drainage takes place through the linked system of cavities. This leads to a reduction of the effective pressure, and by taking account of this, one can rewrite the sliding law in terms of stress and velocity only.
This sliding law can be multi‒valued, and it is suggested that this underlies the dynamic phenomenon of surges.