Underwater Ice Terrace Observed at the Front of Glaciar Grey, a Freshwater Calving Glacier in Patagonia

📅 2019-01-01✍️ Sugiyama, Shin , Minowa, Masahiro , Schaefer, Marius📚 Geophysical Research Letters🎯 article
Underwater ice geometry at the front of calving glaciers provides crucial information for calving and underwater melting. In this study, we present ice geometry captured by operating a side-scanning sonar near the front of Glaciar Grey, a freshwater calving glacier in Patagonia. The observations revealed ice projecting into the lake with a substantially different structure from that of known tidewater glaciers. Terrace-like ice structures were found at several tens of meters below the water surface and extended up to 100 m from the aerial ice front. The structure depicted by the sonar was confirmed when the ice front was exposed by flotation during a major calving event. We infer that buoyant force acting on the submerged ice terrace acted as a driver of the calving event. Our study demonstrates the importance of the underwater ice geometry, which affects sizable calving at the front of freshwater calving glaciers.
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