Calving and rifting

One of the newest areas of research for the group is the mechanics of fracture in glacier ice. Fracturing is prevalent in glacier ice. Surface crevasses produce spectacular patterns, allow for pooling of water, and are hazards to travel. Crevasses extending up from the base of the ice reduce the flexural rigidity and can lead to calving. The calving of icebergs is the culmination of fracture propagation and a primary mechanism of mass loss in marine-terminating glaciers. Rifts are full-thickness fractures that propagate horizontally in ice shelves, the floating extensions of glaciers and ice sheets, and can eventually lead to the formation of massive tabular icebergs. 

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

E. H. Ultee^, C. R. Meyer, and B. M. Minchew. Tensile strength of glacial ice deduced from observations of the 2015 Eastern Skaftá Cauldron collapse, Vatnajökull ice cap, Iceland. Journal of Glaciology, revised, 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 ]