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Vibrations of Mertz Glacier ice tongue, East Antarctica

  • L. Lescarmontier (a1) (a2), B. Legrésy (a1), R. Coleman (a2) (a3), F. Perosanz (a4), C. Mayet (a1) and L. Testut (a1)...


At the time of its calving in February 2010, Mertz Glacier, East Antarctica, was characterized by a 145 km long, 35 km wide floating tongue. In this paper, we use GPS data from the Collaborative Research into Antarctic Calving and Iceberg Evolution (CRAC-ICE) 2007/08 and 2009/10 field seasons to investigate the dynamics of Mertz Glacier. Two months of data were collected at the end of the 2007/08 field season from two kinematic GPS stations situated on each side of the main rift of the glacier tongue and from rock stations located around the ice tongue during 2008/09. Using Precise Point Positioning with integer ambiguity fixing, we observe that the two GPS stations recorded vibrations of the ice tongue with several dominant periods. We compare these results with a simple elastic model of the ice tongue and find that the natural vibration frequencies are similar to those observed. This information provides a better understanding of their possible effects on rift propagation and hence on the glacier calving processes.

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