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Basal hydraulic conditions of Ice Stream BFifteen boreholes have been drilled to the base of Ice Stream B in the vicinity of UpB Camp. The boreholes are spread over an area of about 500 x 1000 m. Several till cores were retrieved from the bottom of the 1000-m-deep holes. Laboratory tests using a simple shear box revealed a yield strength of basal till of 2 kPa. This agrees well with in-situ measurements using a shear vane. Since the average basal shear stress of Ice Stream B with a surface slope of 0.1 degree is about 20 kPa, the ice stream cannot be supported by till that weak. Additional support for this conclusion comes from the basal water pressure that has been measured in all boreholes as soon as the hot water drill reached bottom. In several boreholes, the water pressure has been continuously monitored; in two of them, over several years. The water pressure varies but stays within 1 bar of flotation where ice overburden pressure and water pressure are equal. The ratio of water and overburden pressure lies between 0.986 and 1.002. This is an extremely high value as compared to other fast-moving ice masses; e.g., Variegated Glacier in surge has a ratio of 0.8, and Columbia Glacier - a fast-moving tidewater glacier - has a ratio of 0.9. It implies that water flow under the glacier occurs in a thin film and not in conduits that would drain away water too rapidly. It also implies that basal sliding must be very effective. Water flow under the glacier was measured in a salt-injection experiment where a salt pulse was released at the bottom of a borehole while 60 m down-glacier, the electrical resistance was measured between two other boreholes. A flow velocity of 7 mm/s was obtained.
Document ID
19930022709
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Engelhardt, Hermann (California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Kamb, Barclay (California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Goddard Space Flight Center, The First Annual West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Science Workshop
Subject Category
GEOPHYSICS
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle19930022689Analytic PrimaryThe First Annual West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Science Workshop