Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
The Cryosphere, 11, 117-132, 2017
http://www.the-cryosphere.net/11/117/2017/
doi:10.5194/tc-11-117-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
17 Jan 2017
Semi-brittle rheology and ice dynamics in DynEarthSol3D
Liz C. Logan1, Luc L. Lavier2,3, Eunseo Choi4, Eh Tan5, and Ginny A. Catania2,3 1Institute for Computational and Engineering Science, University of Texas, Austin, 78712, USA
2Department of Geological Science, University of Texas, Austin, 78712, USA
3Institute for Geophysics, University of Texas, Austin, 78758, USA
4Center for Earthquake Research and Information, University of Memphis, Memphis, 38152, USA
5Institute of Earth Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, No. 128, Section 2, Taiwan
Abstract. We present a semi-brittle rheology and explore its potential for simulating glacier and ice sheet deformation using a numerical model, DynEarthSol3D (DES), in simple, idealized experiments. DES is a finite-element solver for the dynamic and quasi-static simulation of continuous media. The experiments within demonstrate the potential for DES to simulate ice failure and deformation in dynamic regions of glaciers, especially at quickly changing boundaries like glacier termini in contact with the ocean. We explore the effect that different rheological assumptions have on the pattern of flow and failure. We find that the use of a semi-brittle constitutive law is a sufficient material condition to form the characteristic pattern of basal crevasse-aided pinch-and-swell geometry, which is observed globally in floating portions of ice and can often aid in eroding the ice sheet margins in direct contact with oceans.

Citation: Logan, L. C., Lavier, L. L., Choi, E., Tan, E., and Catania, G. A.: Semi-brittle rheology and ice dynamics in DynEarthSol3D, The Cryosphere, 11, 117-132, doi:10.5194/tc-11-117-2017, 2017.
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Short summary
Global sea level rise prediction is a pressing and unresolved problem, one whose solution depends upon glaciologists better predicting ice sheet shrinkage due to iceberg calving. We present a numerical model that is capable of simulating ice flow and breakage that leads to iceberg calving and find that a material property that captures both the fluid- and solid-like behavior of ice simultaneously is a necessary condition for studying areas of glaciers in contact with ocean water prone to calve.
Global sea level rise prediction is a pressing and unresolved problem, one whose solution...
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