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Tidally induced seismicity at the grounded margins of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica




Cole, Hank M., author
Aster, Richard C., advisor
McGrath, Daniel, committee member
Cheney, Margaret, committee member
Benz, Harley, committee member

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Repeating swarms of local icequakes were recorded by broadband seismograpghs deployed near the grounding line of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica from late 2014 to early 2017. Swarms commonly persist for over six hours and contain thousands of events. Most swarms are induced or enhanced by tidal forcing. The number of events and event amplitudes in a swarm is most correlated with the modeled tide range. Some swarms only occur during cold periods of the austral winter. Icequakes are cataloged using a cross-correlation detector after building a template library from clustered STA/LTA picks and epicenters are estimated for high quality events. Events can be classified into four broad categories. The first event type is the most common (>95% of events) and occurs in diurnal swarms at all times of year. This type of event is interpreted to be sourced by propagation of near surface crevasses due to enhanced tensile stress from downward flexure of the ice shelf during falling tide. The second type of event has similar waveforms but occurs at the crest of large spring tides and appears to have an englacial or basal source. The third type of event is likely sourced from within the firn, possibly related to densification. It is also observed at stations in the ice shelf interior, but appears enhanced by tides at stations near the grounding line. The fourth type of event is only observed at a station on the Steershead Ice Rise. These are sweeping harmonic tremors lasting up to 8 s that start at low frequency and then tail upwards into an impulse like signal. This work characterizes these icequake types and their correlation to tidal and environmental forcing. It also details a single station event location scheme that is to used to further interpret events by finding their back azimuth with a polarization analysis and estimate their source-receiver distance with two methods. These observations provide insight into the deformation and brittle fracture at the grounded margins of the Ross Ice Shelf.


2020 Summer.
Includes bibliographical references.

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grounding line
ice shelf


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