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Tidal and spatial variability of flow speed and seismicity near the grounding zone of Beardmore Glacier, Antarctica

  • Jade Cooley (a1) (a2), Paul Winberry (a1), Michelle Koutnik (a3) and Howard Conway (a3)


GPS measurements of tidal modulation of ice flow and seismicity within the grounding zone of Beardmore Glacier show that tidally induced fluctuations of horizontal flow are largest near the grounding line and decrease downstream. Seismic activity is continuous, but peaks occur on falling and rising tides. Beamforming methods reveal that most seismic events originate from two distinct locations, one on the grid-north side of the grounding zone, and one on the grid-south side. The broad pattern of deformation generated as Beardmore Glacier merges with the Ross Ice Shelf results in net extension along the grid-north side of the grounding zone and net compression along the grid-south side. During falling tides, seismic activity peaks on both sides because of increased vertical flexure across the grounding line. During rising tides, seismic activity in the region of extension on the grid-north side is relatively low because the tidal influence on both horizontal strain rate and vertical flexure is small. On the grid-south side during rising tides, however, tidally induced horizontal strain rates promote increased seismicity in regions of long-term compressional flow paths. Our study highlights how concurrent geodetic and seismic measurements provide insight into grounding-zone mechanics and their influence on ice-shelf buttressing.

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