Tuesday, November 3, 2:00PM
Location: Revelle 4301
Postdoctoral Scholar, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA
On the Role of Buoyant Flexure in Glacier Calving
I investigate the role that hydrostatic forces play in the calving of icebergs from glacier fronts. We develop a mathematical model to account for the elastic deformation of glaciers in response to three effects: firstly, marine and lake-terminating glaciers tend to enter the water with a non-zero slope which results in upward flexure around the grounding line. Secondly, horizontal pressure imbalances at the glacier front are known to cause hydrostatic in-plane stresses and a downward acting torque. Finally, the presence of a submerged underwater foot at the glacier front may induce an additional buoyancy force that can cause calving. The model provides theoretical estimates of the importance of each of these three effects and suggests geometric and material conditions under which a given glacier will calve from hydrostatic flexure. We conclude by comparing the model results to previously reported observational data.