Articles | Volume 9, issue 1
The Cryosphere, 9, 367–384, 2015
The Cryosphere, 9, 367–384, 2015

Research article 20 Feb 2015

Research article | 20 Feb 2015

Seismic wave propagation in anisotropic ice – Part 1: Elasticity tensor and derived quantities from ice-core properties

A. Diez1,2,*,** and O. Eisen1,3 A. Diez and O. Eisen
  • 1Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 3Fachbereich Geowissenschaften, Universität Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • *now at: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, USA
  • **Invited contribution by A. Diez, recipient of the EGU Outstanding Student Poster Award 2014.

Abstract. A preferred orientation of the anisotropic ice crystals influences the viscosity of the ice bulk and the dynamic behaviour of glaciers and ice sheets. Knowledge about the distribution of crystal anisotropy is mainly provided by crystal orientation fabric (COF) data from ice cores. However, the developed anisotropic fabric influences not only the flow behaviour of ice but also the propagation of seismic waves. Two effects are important: (i) sudden changes in COF lead to englacial reflections, and (ii) the anisotropic fabric induces an angle dependency on the seismic velocities and, thus, recorded travel times. A framework is presented here to connect COF data from ice cores with the elasticity tensor to determine seismic velocities and reflection coefficients for cone and girdle fabrics. We connect the microscopic anisotropy of the crystals with the macroscopic anisotropy of the ice mass, observable with seismic methods. Elasticity tensors for different fabrics are calculated and used to investigate the influence of the anisotropic ice fabric on seismic velocities and reflection coefficients, englacially as well as for the ice–bed contact. Hence, it is possible to remotely determine the bulk ice anisotropy.