Preliminary investigations of centrifuge modelling of polycrystalline ice deformation

B. R. Rea, D. H B Irving, B. Hubbard, J. McKinley

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Glen's flow law is a well-established general law for steady-state glacier ice deformation, and many laboratory tests and field measurements have been undertaken which have shown the generality of the law to be correct. In Nature, ice deformation is the response of the glacier/ice sheet to the applied self-weight stress of the ice mass (i.e. ice thickness, gravity and ice density) which produces a stress gradient within the ice column. Detailed experimental analyses of ice samples in the laboratory have until now only been undertaken using uniform stress fields in uniaxial or triaxial tests. Obviously the best method for investigating ice in the laboratory would be if stress gradients similar to those found in Nature could be replicated. In the following paper we describe the physical modelling of two (laboratory-prepared) isotropic, polycrystalline ice models (0.75 x 0.25 x 0.18 m) at enhanced gravity levels (80g) in a geotechnical beam centrifuge. Steel plate was placed on top of the ice model, replicating an overburden of approximately 36 m of ice (at 80g). Thus we were able to model the deformation of the lower 14m of an ice mass approximately 50 m thick. Models are confined laterally by the Perspex strongbox walls, preventing lateral extension within the sample during testing. Models are unconfined on their downslope ends, rendering longitudinal stresses negligible. Deformation can therefore be treated as simple shear. Samples are instrumented with displacement markers and thermocouples. Values for A and n in the flow law derived from the experiments are reasonable and indicate the potential of this method for ice-deformation studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAnnals of Glaciology|Ann. Glaciol.
    Number of pages5
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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