Coronavirus Information for the UC San Diego Community

Our leaders are working closely with federal and state officials to ensure your ongoing safety at the university. Stay up to date with the latest developments. Learn more.

Crevasse-induced Rayleigh-wave azimuthal anisotropy on Glacier de la Plaine Morte, Switzerland

TitleCrevasse-induced Rayleigh-wave azimuthal anisotropy on Glacier de la Plaine Morte, Switzerland
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsLindner F., Laske G., Walter F., Doran A.K
Date Published2019/09
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0260-3055
Accession NumberWOS:000480289300009
Keywordsanisotropic ice; crevasses; drainage system; dynamics; Geology; geophysical inversion; greenland ice-sheet; ice thickness measurements; neighborhood algorithm; parameters; Physical Geography; propagation; seismic anisotropy; Seismology; temperate glacier; velocity

Crevasses and englacial fracture networks route meltwater from a glacier's surface to the subglacial drainage system and thus influence glacial hydraulics. However, rapid fracture growth may also lead to sudden and potentially hazardous structural failure of unstable glaciers and ice dams, rifting of ice shelves, or iceberg calving. Here, we use passive seismic recordings to investigate the englacial fracture network on Glacier de la Plaine Morte, Switzerland. Glacier dynamics and the drainage of an ice-marginal lake give rise to numerous icequakes, the majority of which generate dispersed, high-frequency Rayleigh waves. A wide distribution of events allows us to study azimuthal anisotropy between 10 and 30 Hz in order to extract englacial seismic velocities in regions of preferentially oriented crevasses. Beamforming applied to a 100-m-aperture array reveals azimuthal anisotropy of Rayleigh-wave phase velocities reaching a strength of 8% at high frequencies. In addition, we find that the fast direction of wave propagation coincides with the observed surface strike of the narrow crevasses. Forward modeling and inversion of dispersion curves suggest that the azimuthal anisotropy is induced by a 40-m-thick crevassed layer at the surface of the glacier with 8% anisotropy in shear-wave velocity.

Student Publication: