Water pressure fluctuations control variability in sediment flux and slip dynamics beneath glaciers and ice streams

Anders Damsgaard, Liran Goren, Jenny Suckale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Rapid ice loss is facilitated by sliding over beds consisting of reworked sediments and erosional products, commonly referred to as till. The dynamic interplay between ice and till reshapes the bed, creating landforms preserved from past glaciations. Leveraging the imprint left by past glaciations as constraints for projecting future deglaciation is hindered by our incomplete understanding of evolving basal slip. Here, we develop a continuum model of water-saturated, cohesive till to quantify the interplay between meltwater percolation and till mobilization that governs changes in the depth of basal slip under fast-moving ice. Our model explains the puzzling variability of observed slip depths by relating localized till deformation to perturbations in pore-water pressure. It demonstrates that variable slip depth is an inherent property of the ice-meltwater-till system, which could help understand why some paleo-landforms like grounding-zone wedges appear to have formed quickly relative to current till-transport rates.
Original languageEnglish GB
Article number66
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalCommunications Earth & Environment
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (all)
  • Environmental Science (all)

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