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Title: Equilibrium profile of ice caps
Authors: Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Technological Institute.
Weertman, Johannes.
Keywords: Glaciers
Ice cap
Ice sheet
Ice creep
Publisher: Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Series/Report no.: Research report (Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)) ; 84.
Description: Research Report
Summary: The law of sliding of ice over bedrock is generalized to include the effect of the presence of a longitudinal stress. The sliding velocity thus depends on both the shear stress acting at the bottom of an ice mass and the longitudinal stress. With this generalized law, it is still possible to make a one-dimensional analysis of the problem of calculating the profile of an ice cap or glacier, such as was carried out by Nye, and yet introduce the effect of large longitudinal stresses. As a result a profile can be calculated with two equations. One equation is applicable to the central region of an ice cap and the other equation (which was found by Nye) is valid elsewhere. By an appropriate joining of the profiles derived from these two equations, the complete profile of an ice cap can be obtained. From two sample calculations it is shown that, for a large ice cap, Nye's theory is valid practically everywhere, and there is no real need to bring in the modification. For a small ice cap, the modification to the profile is valid over an appreciable fraction of the total width of the ice cap. A very simple extension of the analysis of the ice cap profile allows for the effect of isostatic sinking of the bedrock surface under a large ice cap. (An initially flat bedrock surface was assumed. The analysis can be extended easily to allow for an arbitrarily shaped initial bedrock surface.)
Appears in Collections:CRREL Research Report

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