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Modeling hydraulic fracture of glaciers using continuum damage mechanics

  • MOSTAFA E. MOBASHER (a1), RAVINDRA DUDDU (a2), JEREMY N. BASSIS (a3) and HAIM WAISMAN (a1)

Abstract

The presence of water-filled crevasses is known to increase the penetration depth of crevasses and this has been hypothesized to play an important role controlling iceberg calving rate. Here, we develop a continuum-damage-based poro-mechanics formulation that enables the simulation of water-filled basal and surface crevasse propagation. The formulation incorporates a scalar isotropic damage variable into a Maxwell-type viscoelastic constitutive model for glacial ice, and the effect of the water pressure on fracture propagation using the concept of effective solid stress. We illustrate the model by simulating quasi-static hydrofracture in idealized rectangular slabs of ice in contact with the ocean. Our results indicate that water-filled basal crevasses only propagate when the water pressure is sufficiently large, and that the interaction between simultaneously propagating water-filled surface and basal crevasses can have a mutually positive influence leading to deeper crevasse propagation, which can critically affect glacial stability. Therefore, this study supports the hypothesis that hydraulic fracture is a plausible mechanism for the accelerated breakdown of glaciers.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the same Creative Commons licence is included and the original work is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.

Corresponding author

Correspondence: Haim Waisman <waisman@civil.columbia.edu>

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