To save content items to your account,
please 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 account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
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 saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved 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.
Ice aprons are defined as very small ice bodies covering steep rock slopes. They have only been the subject of increased scientific interest for a few years, despite the fact that they are a condition for mountaineering and obvious elements in the high-alpine landscapes. However, very little is known about their distribution, evolution and physical characteristics. In this paper, we review the existing knowledge on ice aprons, which have almost exclusively been investigated in the Mont-Blanc massif, Western Alps. We supplement this review with novel results from recent surveys of ice aprons. We used a wide array of methodologies, from remote sensing (multi-source imagery) to in situ (stakes and thermal monitoring) and laboratory (radiocarbon dating and texture analysis) glaciological investigations. In the Mont-Blanc massif, ice aprons occupy 4.2 km2 within the alpine permafrost zone. Temperature measured at the ice–rock interface is indeed largely negative. Thinness of ice aprons coupled with the cold context implies a quasi-stationary shear regime without basal Sliding. Only ice at the surface can possibly melt in warm periods. After a shrinking period from the end of the Little Ice Age to the mid-to-late-1960s, ice aprons experienced a short period of expansion, followed by an accelerated shrinkage since the beginning of the 21st century. This shrinkage now favours rockfall triggering and poses a serious threat to a glaciological heritage since ice aprons host several-thousand-year-old ice. Finally, we synthesize this information to assess the existing definition of ice aprons, and propose some future research directions.
Once fallen, snow settles due to the combined effects of metamorphism and deformation of the ice matrix under gravity. To understand how these coupled processes affect snow evolution, we performed oedometric compression tests and continuously monitored the snow microstructure with X-ray tomography. Centimetric samples with an initial density between 200 and 300 kg m−3 were followed during an initial sintering phase and under two different loads of 2.1 and 4.7 kPa at $-8^\circ$C for ~1 week. The microstructure captured at a voxel size of 8.5 μm was characterized by density, specific surface area (SSA) and two metrics related to bond network, namely the Euler characteristic and the minimum cut surface. Load-induced creep of the ice matrix was observed only for sufficiently low values of initial density (<290 kg m−3 in our tests), and was shown to be associated to a significant increase of the number of bonds. Application of the load, however, did not affect the individual bond size nor the SSA, which appeared to be mainly controlled by isothermal metamorphism. The uniaxial compression did not induce any creation of anisotropy on the microstructural characteristics. Overall, our results show that, for the considered conditions, the deformation of the ice matrix mainly leads to a reduction of the pore space and an increase of the coordination number, while metamorphism mainly affects the grain and bond sizes.
Hailstone structures have been studied for over a century, but so far mainly by manual optical means. This paper presents new texture and microstructure data (i.e. crystal lattice orientations, grain sizes and shapes) measured with an Automatic Ice Texture Analyzer, which gives access to high spatial and angular resolutions. The hailstones show two main characteristics: (1) they are structured with several concentric layers composed of alternating fine equiaxed grains and coarse elongated and radially oriented grains, and (2) they show two texture types with c-axes oriented either parallel or perpendicular to the radial direction. Such textures are compared with the ones observed in lake S1 and S2 ices, respectively. The S1 texture type (with c-axes parallel to the columnar crystals that grew in the radial direction) may result from epitaxial growth from a polycrystalline embryo, while the S2 texture (c-axes in the plane perpendicular to the column direction) may result from the growth from an embryo made of a few crystals with mainly one crystallographic orientation. Our novel high-resolution maps and measurements of both microstructure and texture may help to shed new light on the long-term discussion on the growth mechanisms of large hailstones.
The current paper studies the dynamics and age of the Triangle du Tacul (TDT) ice apron, a massive ice volume lying on a steep high-mountain rock wall in the French side of the Mont-Blanc massif at an altitude close to 3640 m a.s.l. Three 60 cm long ice cores were drilled to bedrock (i.e. the rock wall) in 2018 and 2019 at the TDT ice apron. Texture (microstructure and lattice-preferred orientation, LPO) analyses were performed on one core. The two remaining cores were used for radiocarbon dating of the particulate organic carbon fraction (three samples in total). Microstructure and LPO do not substantially vary with along the axis of the ice core. Throughout the core, irregularly shaped grains, associated with strain-induced grain boundary migration and strong single maximum LPO, were observed. Measurements indicate that at the TDT ice deforms under a low strain-rate simple shear regime, with a shear plane parallel to the surface slope of the ice apron. Dynamic recrystallization stands out as the major mechanism for grain growth. Micro-radiocarbon dating indicates that the TDT ice becomes older with depth perpendicular to the ice surface. We observed ice ages older than 600 year BP and at the base of the lowest 30 cm older than 3000 years.
The physical properties of snow are tied to its microstructure. Especially for the slow, plastic deformation of snow and firn, the crystal orientation is an important factor in addition to the geometry of the ice matrix. While micro-computed tomography measures the snow microstructure precisely, it gives no information about the orientation of the ice crystals. In this study, we applied a temperature gradient of 50 K m−1 to large blocks of undisturbed decomposed snow and sieved snow during 3 months. The mean temperature of the snow samples during the temperature gradient experiment was −20°C. Two closely spaced snow samples were taken before the experiment, then every week during the first month and afterwards every month. From each sampling, one sample was analyzed by micro-computed tomography and the other was used for thin sections. The orientation of the c-axis was measured in the thin sections using an automatic ice texture analyzer. Initial density was 30% higher in the sieved snow sample. Density and specific surface area evolved alike, while the fabric showed a different evolution between the two samples. The undisturbed snow evolved from a weak single-maximum fabric towards a weak girdle fabric, while the sieved sample showed no evolution. The undisturbed snow sample converged toward the sieved sample fabric after 6 weeks, but continued its evolution thereafter. We suggest that the main factor causing this different behavior is the difference in density and in pore size.
Static (or ‘normal’) grain growth, i.e. grain boundary migration driven solely by grain boundary energy, is considered to be an important process in polar ice. Many ice-core studies report a continual increase in average grain size with depth in the upper hundreds of metres of ice sheets, while at deeper levels grain size appears to reach a steady state as a consequence of a balance between grain growth and grain-size reduction by dynamic recrystallization. The growth factor k in the normal grain growth law is important for any process where grain growth plays a role, and it is normally assumed to be a temperature-dependent material property. Here we show, using numerical simulations with the program Elle, that the factor k also incorporates the effect of the microstructure on grain growth. For example, a change in grain-size distribution from normal to log-normal in a thin section is found to correspond to an increase in k by a factor of 3.5.
Polar ice is known to be one of the most anisotropic natural materials. For a given fabric the polycrystal viscous response is strongly dependent on the actual state of stress and strain rate. Within an ice sheet, grounded-ice parts and ice shelves have completely different stress regimes, so one should expect completely different impacts of ice anisotropy on the flow. The aim of this work is to quantify, through the concept of enhancement factors, the influence of ice anisotropy on the flow of grounded ice and ice shelves. For this purpose, a full-Stokes anisotropic marine ice-sheet flowline model is used to compare isotropic and anisotropic diagnostic velocity fields on a fixed geometry. From these full-Stokes results, we propose a definition of enhancement factors for grounded ice and ice shelves, coherent with the asymptotic models used for these regions. We then estimate realistic values for the enhancement factors induced by ice anisotropy for grounded ice and ice shelves.
Major advances in understanding the plasticity of ice have been made during the past 60 years with the development of studies of the flow of glaciers and, recently, with the analysis of deep ice cores in Antarctica and Greenland. Recent experimental investigations clearly show that the plastic deformation of the ice single crystal and polycrystal is produced by intermittent dislocation bursts triggered by long-range interaction of dislocations. Such dislocation avalanches are associated with the formation of dislocation patterns in the form of slip lines and slip bands, which exhibit long-range correlations and scale invariance. Long-range dislocation interactions appear to play an essential role in primary creep of polycrystals and dynamic recrystallization. The large plastic anisotropy of the ice crystal is at the origin of large strain and stress heterogeneities within grains. The use of full- field approaches is now a compulsory proceeding to model the intracrystalline heterogeneities that develop in polycrystals. Ice is now highly regarded among the materials science community. It is considered a model material for understanding deformation processes of crystalline materials and polycrystal modeling.
For accurate ice-sheet flow modelling, the anisotropic behaviour of ice must be taken fully into account. However, physically based micro-macro (μ-M) models for the behaviour of an anisotropic ice polycrystal are too complex to be implemented easily in large-scale ice-sheet flow models. An easy and efficient method to remedy this is presented. Polar ice is assumed to behave as a linearly viscous orthotropic material whose general flow law (GOLF) depends on six parameters, and its orthotropic fabric is described by an ‘orientation distribution function’ (ODF) depending on two parameters. A method to pass from the ODF to a discrete description of the fabric, and vice versa, is presented. Considering any available μ-M model, the parameters of the GOLF that fit the response obtained by running this μ-M model are calculated for any set of ODF parameters. It is thus possible to tabulate the GOLF over a grid in the space of the ODF parameters. This step is performed once and for all. Ice-sheet flow models need the general form of the GOLF to be implemented in the available code (once), then, during each individual run, to retrieve the GOLF parameters from the table by interpolation. As an application example, the GOLF is tabulated using three different μ-M models and used to derive the rheological properties of ice along the Greenland Icecore Project (GRIP) ice core.
As a complement to earlier measurements on the friction of both granular fresh-water ice and S2 columnar salt-water ice, new experiments were performed on the friction of S2 columnar fresh-water ice sliding against itself at low velocities (5 × 10−7 to 5 × 10−1 m s−1) and at −10°C, using the same double-shear device as was used earlier. The results showed that under a given set of experimental conditions the kinetic coefficient of friction of S2 fresh-water ice compares favorably with that of the other two variants.The experiments also revealed friction-induced surface cracks and recrystallized grains.These deformation features are explained, respectively, in terms of fracture mechanics and an earlier model of dynamic recrystallization in ice.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.