Articles | Volume 13, issue 7
The Cryosphere, 13, 1877–1887, 2019
The Cryosphere, 13, 1877–1887, 2019
Research article
11 Jul 2019
Research article | 11 Jul 2019

Buoyant forces promote tidewater glacier iceberg calving through large basal stress concentrations

Matt Trevers et al.

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Cited articles

Amundson, J. M., Fahnestock, M., Truffer, M., Brown, J., Lüthi, M. P., and Motyka, R. J.: Ice mélange dynamics and implications for terminus stability, Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland, J. Geophys. Res., 115, F01005,, 2010. 
Bassis, J. N. and Walker, C. C.: Upper and lower limits on the stability of calving glaciers from the yield strength envelope of ice, P. Roy. Soc. Lond. A Mat., 468, 913–931,, 2012. 
Benn, D. I., Hulton, N. R., and Mottram, R. H.: “Calving laws”, “sliding laws” and the stability of tidewater glaciers, Ann. Glaciol., 46, 123–130, 2007a. 
Benn, D. I., Warren, C. R., and Mottram, R. H.: Calving processes and the dynamics of calving glaciers, Earth-Sci. Rev., 82, 143–179,, 2007b 
Benn, D. I., Aström, J., Todd, J., Nick, F. M., Hulton, N. R., and Luckman, A.: Melt-undercutting and buoyancy-driven calving from tidewater glaciers: new insights from discrete element and continuum model simulations, J. Glaciol., 63, 691–702, 2017. 
Short summary
Iceberg calving is a major factor in the retreat of outlet glaciers of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Massive block overturning calving events occur at major outlet glaciers. A major calving event in 2009 was triggered by the release of a smaller block of ice from above the waterline. Using a numerical model, we investigate the feasibility of this mechanism to drive large calving events. We find that relatively small perturbations induce forces large enough to open cracks in ice at the glacier bed.