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Joint geodetic and seismic analysis of surface crevassing near a seasonal glacier-dammed lake at Gornergletscher, Switzerland

  • Louis Garcia (a1), Karen Luttrell (a1), Debi Kilb (a2) and Fabian Walter (a3)

Abstract

Seasonal lake Gornersee forms at the confluence of Gornergletscher and Grenzgletscher, Switzerland, and experiences outburst floods annually in midsummer. To study the interplay between lake drainage, glacier movement and crevasse activity, high-frequency seismometers and GPS receivers were deployed in networks near Gornersee during the summer ablation seasons of 2004, 2006 and 2007. We use a Rayleigh wave coherence method to locate 3289, 7939 and 4087 icequakes, respectively, primarily along well-defined surface crevasses. We calculate two-dimensional strains from triads of GPS stations and find mean differential strain rates of ~300 × 10−6 d−1 with diurnal variations up to 800 × 10−6 d−1. Crevasse icequake activity and glacial velocity are highest during early season, then decrease as meltwater channels erode and subglacial water pressure decreases. Glacial response to Gornersee drainage varied year-to-year, with icequake activity promoted at some crevasses and inhibited at others, suggesting syn-drainage icequakes may be indicative of local drainage patterns and small-scale features of the stress field. Diurnal pulses in icequake activity exhibit peak activity at different times of day in different locations, coincident with a southeast-to-northwest trending concentrated shear zone near the Gornergletscher–Grenzgletscher confluence, likely due to differences in the timing of peak strain rate in these regions.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Footnotes

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Submitted to Annals of Glaciology for consideration in the special issue ‘Progress in Cryoseismology’

(https://www.igsoc.org/annals/call_4_papers/cryoseismology/)

Resubmitted 2 November 2018

Footnotes

References

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