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Vertical distribution of water within the polythermal Storglaciären, Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL.
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2010 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, E-ISSN 2156-2202, Vol. 115, no F4, F04002- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Knowledge of water content and its distribution in polythermal glaciers is required to model their flow and thermal state. However, observ of water content variations with depth in polythermal glaciers are scarce. Water content can be estimated from radio wave speed because they depend on one another. We obtained continuous profiles of radio wave speed variations with depth from zero-offset radar profiles collected in boreholes approximately 80 m deep in the upper ablation area of Storglaciaren, northern Sweden. These profiles show that the microcrystalline water system in the temperate ice is relatively homogeneous. The overall hydrothermal structure at this location is composed of a 20 m thick upper layer of cold, water-free ice, underlain by a temperate ice layer whose average water content is 0.6% +/- 0.3%. These results are corroborated by surface radar and thermistor measurements, which show that the depth of the cold temperate transition is 21 m and the calculated water content at that transition is 0.6% +/- 0.1%. These findings imply that the whole temperate ice layer is from 3 to 4 times softer than the cold ice and, consequently, that realistic ice flow models of polythermal glaciers should include the effect of water content on viscosity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 115, no F4, F04002- p.
Keyword [en]
polythermal glaciers, water content in glaciers, ground-penetrating radar
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-134145DOI: 10.1029/2009JF001539ISI: 000282767100001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-134145DiVA: diva2:372130
Available from: 2010-11-24 Created: 2010-11-22 Last updated: 2013-01-15Bibliographically approved

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