Calving Ice Walls

T. Hughes
1989 Annals of Glaciology  
Calving ice walls are an important ablation mechanism for deglaciation of calving bays occupied by temperate tide-water glaciers and polar marine ice sheets. Dangers inherent in calving bays have precluded detailed field studies of these calving ice walls. However, calving ice walls also exist in sub-polar glaciers terminating on dry land, and an opportunity for detailed field work was afforded by the 12 August 1970 volcanic eruption on Deception Island (63.0°S, 60.6°W), where thawing of a
more » ... e thawing of a surface blanket of ice-cemented ash produced solifluction ramps that made parts of the ice wall accessible. Measurements made in a melt-water trough incised into the ice wall, and in four tunnels cut into the ice wall, revealed numerous shear bands that rose almost vertically and curved forward. Shear offset increased upward and was greatest in shear bands that intersected the tips of ring-fault crevasses on the up-slope side of the ice wall. Near the base of the ice wall, other shear bands, possibly related to the slip-line field, intersected the ice wall at about 45°. Ice slabs separated by ring faults calved straight down as a result of shear rupture along these two sets of shear bands. Calving dynamics were analyzed and generalized for ice walls grounded in water.
doi:10.3189/s0260305500006984 fatcat:kleznjicqjck7lv5uzfomwdaui