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Simultaneous teleseismic and geodetic observations of the stick-slip motion of an Antarctic ice stream


Wiens, DA and Anandakrishnan, S and Winberry, JP and King, MA, Simultaneous teleseismic and geodetic observations of the stick-slip motion of an Antarctic ice stream, Nature, 453, (7196) pp. 770-774. ISSN 0028-0836 (2008) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1038/nature06990


Long-period seismic sources associated with glacier motion have been recently discovered, and an increase in ice flow over the past decade has been suggested on the basis of secular changes in such measurements. Their significance, however, remains uncertain, as a relationship to ice flow has not been confirmed by direct observation. Here we combine long-period surface-wave observations with simultaneous Global Positioning System measurements of ice displacement to study the tidally modulated stick-slip motion of the Whillans Ice Stream in West Antarctica. The seismic origin time corresponds to slip nucleation at a region of the bed of the Whillans Ice Stream that is likely stronger than in surrounding regions and, thus, acts like an 'asperity' in traditional fault models. In addition to the initial pulse, two seismic arrivals occurring 10-23 minutes later represent stopping phases as the slip terminates at the ice stream edge and the grounding line. Seismic amplitude and average rupture velocity are correlated with tidal amplitude for the different slip events during the spring-to-neap tidal cycle. Although the total seismic moment calculated from ice rigidity, slip displacement, and rupture area is equivalent to an earthquake of moment magnitude seven (Mw 7), seismic amplitudes are modest (Ms 3.6-4.2), owing to the source duration of 20-30 minutes. Seismic radiation from ice movement is proportional to the derivative of the moment rate function at periods of 25-100 seconds and very long-period radiation is not detected, owing to the source geometry. Long-period seismic waves are thus useful for detecting and studying sudden ice movements but are insensitive to the total amount of slip. ©2008 Nature Publishing Group.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:geodetic network; glacier; GPS; ice flow; ice stream; nucleation; seismic wave; stick-slip; surface wave; article; correlation analysis; earthquake; flow measurement; geometry; global positioning system; model; motion; observation; polar ice cap
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Physical geography and environmental geoscience
Research Field:Physical geography and environmental geoscience not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:King, MA (Professor Matt King)
ID Code:81989
Year Published:2008
Web of Science® Times Cited:109
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2013-01-14
Last Modified:2013-01-14

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