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Estimation of ice fabric within Whillans Ice Stream using polarimetric phase-sensitive radar sounding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Glaciology
Early online date3 Feb 2020
DateAccepted/In press - 7 Jan 2020
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 3 Feb 2020


Here we use polarimetric measurements from an Autonomous phase-sensitive Radio-Echo Sounder (ApRES) to investigate ice fabric within Whillans Ice Stream, West Antarctica. The survey traverse is bounded at one end by the suture zone with the Mercer Ice Stream and at the other end by a basal ‘sticky spot’. Our data analysis employs a phase-based polarimetric coherence method to estimate horizontal ice fabric properties: the fabric orientation and the magnitude
of the horizontal fabric asymmetry. We infer an azimuthal rotation in the prevailing horizontal c-axis between the near-surface (z ≈ 10–50 m) and deeper ice (z ≈ 170–360 m), with the near-surface orientated closer to perpendicular to flow and deeper ice closer to parallel. In the near-surface, the fabric asymmetry increases toward the center of Whillans Ice Stream which is consistent with the surface compression direction. By contrast, the fabric orientation in deeper
ice is not aligned with the surface compression direction but is consistent with englacial ice reacting to longitudinal compression associated with basal resistance from the nearby sticky spot.

    Research areas

  • Anisotropic ice, radio-echo sounding, ice crystal studies, ice streams

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