Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-299
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-299

  11 Oct 2021

11 Oct 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Formation of glacier tables caused by differential ice melting

Marceau Hénot1, Vincent Langlois2, Nicolas Plihon1, and Nicolas Taberlet1 Marceau Hénot et al.
  • 1Univ Lyon, Ens de Lyon, Univ Claude Bernard, CNRS, Laboratoire de Physique, F-69342 Lyon, France
  • 2Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon, Terre, Planètes, Environnement, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - ENS de Lyon Université Jean Monnet Saint-Étienne - CNRS, France

Abstract. Glacier tables are structures frequently encountered on temperate glaciers. They consist of a rock supported by a narrow ice foot which forms through differential melting of the ice. In this article, we investigate their formation by following their dynamics on the Mer de glace glacier (Alps, France). We report field measurements of four specific glacier tables over the course of several days, as well as snapshot measurements of a field of 80 tables performed on one given day. We develop a simple analytical 1-D heat conduction model accounting for the various mechanisms of the heat transfer on the glacier using local meteoreorological data, and which displays excellent agreement with the field measurements. We show that the formation of glacier tables results from a competition between two effects: on the one hand, a geometrical amplification of the heat flux received by the rock and transmitted to the ice underneath on the one hand, and on the other hand, a shielding effect resulting from the warmer temperature of the rocks compared to that of the ice (reducing the sensible and net infrared incident fluxes). The latter is greatly amplified by direct solar irradiation, which induces a strong temperature gradient across the thickness of the rock.

Marceau Hénot et al.

Status: open (until 06 Dec 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Marceau Hénot et al.

Marceau Hénot et al.

Viewed

Total article views: 230 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
174 53 3 230 14 1 2
  • HTML: 174
  • PDF: 53
  • XML: 3
  • Total: 230
  • Supplement: 14
  • BibTeX: 1
  • EndNote: 2
Views and downloads (calculated since 11 Oct 2021)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 11 Oct 2021)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 215 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 215 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
1
 
 
 
 
Latest update: 22 Oct 2021
Download
Short summary
Glacier tables are structures frequently encountered on temperate glaciers. They consist of a rock supported by a narrow ice foot which forms through differential melting of the ice. In this article, we investigate their formation by following their dynamics on the Mer de glace glacier (Alps, France). We explain this phenomenon by a combination of the effect of wind and direct solar radiation that sets a critical size above which a rock will form a glacier table.