Articles | Volume 10, issue 6
The Cryosphere, 10, 2821–2829, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-2821-2016
The Cryosphere, 10, 2821–2829, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-2821-2016

Research article 18 Nov 2016

Research article | 18 Nov 2016

Monitoring the temperature-dependent elastic and anelastic properties in isotropic polycrystalline ice using resonant ultrasound spectroscopy

Matthew J. Vaughan1, Kasper van Wijk2, David J. Prior1, and M. Hamish Bowman1 Matthew J. Vaughan et al.
  • 1Department of Geology, University of Otago, 360 Leith Walk, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
  • 2Department of Physics and Dodd Walls Centre, Building 303, University of Auckland, 38 Princes Street, Auckland 92019, New Zealand

Abstract. The elastic and anelastic properties of ice are of interest in the study of the dynamics of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. Resonant ultrasound spectroscopy allows quantitative estimates of these properties and aids calibration of active and passive seismic data gathered in the field. The elastic properties and anelastic quality factor Q in laboratory-manufactured polycrystalline isotropic ice cores decrease (reversibly) with increasing temperature, but compressional-wave speed and attenuation prove most sensitive to temperature, indicative of pre-melting of the ice. This method of resonant ultrasound spectroscopy can be deployed in the field, for those situations where shipping samples is difficult (e.g. remote locations), or where the properties of ice change rapidly after extraction (e.g. in the case of sea ice).

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Short summary
The physical properties of ice are of interest in the study of the dynamics of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. We used resonant ultrasound spectroscopy to estimate the effects of temperature on the elastic and anelastic characteristics of polycrystalline ice, which control the propagation of sound waves. This information helps calibrate seismic data, in order to determine regional-scale ice properties, improving our ability to predict ice sheet behaviour in response to climate change.