Glacier shear margins


Fast glacier flow is accommodated primarily by slip at the bed and restrained in part by drag in the lateral shear margins. Lateral shear margins are bands of intense deformation that separate relatively fast-flowing ice from stagnant ice or rock. Drag in the shear margins is a function of the rheology of ice within the margins, which evolves in response to damage, heating, melting, and the development of crystallographic fabric, each of which depends on rates of local shearing and cumulative strain. Though fundamental to understanding glacier dynamics and to making reliable projections of future glacier states, our knowledge of the relative contributions of these rheological mechanisms is incomplete. We seek to understand the relative contributions of all mechanisms that can influence the effective rheology of shear margins, with a particular focus on the thermomechanics of the margins. In short, ice rheology is strongly dependent on temperature and liquid water content; the deformation of ice produces heat that warms cold ice and melts temperate, leading to feedbacks between deformation and softening. 

Some relevant publications (Names of group members are bolded; * represents students, ^ postdocs)

M. Ranganathan*, B. M. Minchew, C. R. Meyer, and G. Hilmar Gudmundsson. A new approach to inferring basal drag and ice rheology in ice streams, with applications to West Antarctic ice streams. Journal of Glaciology, submitted, 2020.

F. Clerc*B. M. Minchew, and M. D. Behn. Marine ice cliff instability mitigated by slow removal of ice shelves. Geophysical Research Letters, 46(21):12108-12116, 2019. [ pdf | doi | sup | movie ]

B. M. Minchew, C. R. Meyer, A. A. Robel, G. H. Gudmundsson, and M. Simons. Processes controlling the downstream evolution of ice rheology in glacier shear margins: Case study on Rutford Ice Stream, West Antarctica. Journal of Glaciology, 64(246):583-594, 2018. [ pdf  | doi ]

C. R. Meyer and B. M. Minchew. Temperate ice in the shear margins of the Antarctic Ice Sheet: controlling processes and preliminary locations. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 498:17-26, 2018. [ pdf | doi | sup ]

C. R. Meyer, A. Yehya, B. M. Minchew, and J. R. Rice. A model for the downstream evolution of temperate ice and subglacial hydrology along ice stream shear margins. Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface, in press, 2018. [ pdf | doi ]