Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-82
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-82

  14 Apr 2021

14 Apr 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal TC and is expected to appear here in due course.

Ground-penetrating radar imaging reveals glacier’s drainage network in 3D

Gregory Church1,2, Andreas Bauder1, Melchior Grab1,2, and Hansruedi Maurer2 Gregory Church et al.
  • 1Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW), ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2Institute of Geophysics, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract. Hydrological systems of glaciers have a direct impact on the glacier dynamics. Since the 1950’s, geophysical studies have provided insights into these hydrological systems. Unfortunately, such studies were predominantly conducted using 2D acquisitions along a few profiles, thus failing to provide spatially unaliased 3D images of englacial and subglacial water pathways. The latter has likely resulted in flawed constraints for the hydrological modelling of glacier drainage networks. Here, we present for the first time 3D ground-penetrating radar (GPR) results that provide unprecedented high-resolution 3D images of an alpine glacier’s drainage network. Our results confirms a long-standing englacial hydrology theory stating that englacial conduits flow around glacial overdeepenings rather than directly over the overdeepening. Furthermore, these results also show exciting new opportunities for high-resolution 3D GPR studies of glaciers.

Gregory Church et al.

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2021-82', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 May 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2021-82', Anonymous Referee #2, 16 May 2021

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2021-82', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 May 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2021-82', Anonymous Referee #2, 16 May 2021

Gregory Church et al.

Gregory Church et al.

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Short summary
In this field study, we acquired a 3D radar survey over an active drainage network transporting meltwater through a glacier. We successfully imaged the both englacial and subglacial pathways and were able to confirm long-standing glacier hydrology theory regarding meltwater pathways around overdeepenings. These meltwater pathways directly impact the glacier’s velocity and therefore, more insightful field observations are needed in order to improve our understanding of this complex system.