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Characterization of seasonal glacial seismicity from a single-station on-ice record at Holtedahlfonna, Svalbard

  • Andreas Köhler (a1) (a2), Valerie Maupin (a3), Christopher Nuth (a1) and Ward van Pelt (a4)

Glacial seismicity provides important insights into glacier dynamic processes. We study the temporal distribution of cryogenic seismic signals (icequakes) at Holtedahlfonna, Svalbard, between April and August 2016 using a single three-component sensor. We investigate sources of observed icequakes using polarization analysis and waveform modeling. Processes responsible for five icequake categories are suggested, incorporating observations of previous studies into our interpretation. We infer that the most dominant icequake type is generated by surface crevasse opening through hydrofracturing. Secondly, bursts of high-frequency signals are presumably caused by repeated near-surface crevassing due to high strain rates during glacier fast-flow episodes. Furthermore, signals related to resonance in water-filled cracks, fracturing or settling events in dry firn or snow before the melt season, and processes at the glacier bed are observed. Amplitude of seismic background noise is clearly related to glacier runoff. We process ambient seismic noise to invert horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratios for a sub-surface seismic velocity model used to model icequake signals. Our study shows that a single seismic sensor provides useful information about seasonal ice dynamics in case deployment of a network is not feasible.

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