Calving processes at a grounded ice cliff

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    Abstract

    Repeat photographs and field survey reveal the mechanism of shortterm ice-cliff evolution at Maud Glacier, a temperate lake-calving glacier in New Zealand. Calving is cyclic, each cycle involving four stages: (1) waterline melting and collapse of the roof of a sub-horizontal notch at the cliff foot; (2) calving of ice flakes from the cliff face leading to a growing overhang from the waterline upwards, and crack propagation from the glacier surface; (3) large but infrequent calving of slabs in response to the developing overhang, returning the cliff to an "initial" vertical profile; (4) rare subaqueous calving of a submerged ice foot. Results indicate that the rate-controlling process is the speed of waterline melting, and that calving rate is independent of water depth (at least at timescales of weeks to months). Slowly calving lake-terminating glaciers have mass balances more negative than land-terminating glaciers, but nevertheless advance and retreat in response to mass-balance driven changes in ice velocity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)116-121
    JournalAnnals of Glaciology
    Volume24
    Publication statusPublished - 1997

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