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Seismic observations of a complex firn structure across the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica


Hollmann, H and Treverrow, A and Peters, LE and Reading, AM and Kulessa, B, Seismic observations of a complex firn structure across the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, Journal of Glaciology, 67, (265) pp. 777-787. ISSN 0022-1430 (2021) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

© The Author(s), 2021. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1017/jog.2021.21


We use seismic refraction data to investigate the firn structure across a suture zone on the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, and the possible role of glacier dynamics in firn evolution. In the downstream direction, the data reveal decreasing compressional-wave velocities and increasing penetration depth of the propagating wave in the firn layer, consistent with ~1m firn thickening every 6 km. The boundary between the Lambert Glacier unit to the west and a major suture zone and the Mawson Escarpment Ice Stream unit to the east, is marked by differences in firn thicknesses, compressional-wave velocities and seismic anisotropy in the across-flow direction. The latter does not contradict the presence of a single-maximum crystal orientation fabric oriented 45–90◦ away from the flow direction. This is consistent with the presence of transverse simple shear governing the region’s underlying ice flow regime, in association with elevated strain along the suture zone. The confirmation and quantification of the implied dynamic coupling between firn and the underlying ice requires integration of future seismic refraction, coring and modelling studies. Because firn is estimated to cover ~ 98% of the Antarctic continent any such coupling may have widespread relevance to ice-sheet evolution and flow.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:polar firn, seismics, snow mechanics
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Physical geography and environmental geoscience
Research Field:Glaciology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Hollmann, H (Mr Hannes Hollmann)
UTAS Author:Treverrow, A (Dr Adam Treverrow)
UTAS Author:Reading, AM (Professor Anya Reading)
ID Code:147933
Year Published:2021
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (SR140300001)
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Physics
Deposited On:2021-11-24
Last Modified:2022-08-23
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