Micro-earthquakes beneath ice streams B and C, West Antarctica: observations and implications

S. Anandakrishnan, C. R. Bentley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Scopus citations

Abstract

Micro-earthquakes have been monitored at two locations on Ice Stream B and one on Ice Stream C using a seismographic array. Subglacial micro-earthquakes are 20 times more abundant beneath Ice Stream C than beneath Ice Stream B, despite the 100 times more rapid movement of Ice Stream B. Triangulation shows the foci beneath Ice Stream C, like those beneath Ice Stream B, to be within a few meters of the base of the ice, presumably within the uppermost part of the bed, and fault-plane analysis indicates slips on horizontal planes at about a 30° angle to the presumed direction of formerly active flow. Source parameters, computed from spectra of the arrivals, confirmed that the speed of slip is three orders of magnitude faster beneath Ice Stream C than beneath Ice Stream B which means that a five orders-of-magnitude greater fraction of the velocity of Ice Stream C is contributed by the faulting, although that fraction is still small. We attribute the difference in activity beneath the two ice streams to the loss of dilatancy in the till beneath Ice Stream C in the process that led to its stagnation. -Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-462
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Glaciology
Volume39
Issue number133
DOIs
StatePublished - 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes

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