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G. Ekström, M. Nettles and V.C. Tsai/AAAS/IRIS Consortium

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Seismology and Probabilistic Hazard for Waste Repository Siting


Example of novel glaciological signals studied with seismology. Seismically identified and located long-period glacial events detected with the GSN are associated with major outlet glaciers in Greenland, showing seasonality and annual variability. (Image from G. Ekström, M. Nettles and V.C. Tsai, 2006. Seasonality and increasing frequency of Greenland glacial earthquakes, Science, 311(5768):1756–1758, doi:10.1126/science.1122112. Reprinted with permission from AAAS.)

Cryoseismic research involves quantitative studies of ice processes that in many cases are known or suspected to show sensitivity to climate change. For example, high-quality seismographic networks can be deployed to study ice shelf stability/disintegration, which has been discovered to sometimes occur catastrophically. Recent research topics also include tectonic evolution of west Antarctica and the history of ice cap changes; studies of tidally modulated stick-slip motion of ice streams in west Antarctica; seismic and ocean acoustic observations of the collisions and break-up of Earth’s largest ice shelves and ice bergs; remote detection of glacial calving via sea swell “mini-tsunamis” using broadband seismometers deployed atop giant tabular icebergs, and study of a newly observed class of remotely detectable slow glacial earthquakes from major tidewater outlet glaciers in Greenland. In each application, seismology can uniquely contribute to the quantification of the sources and structures involved in the dynamic polar environments.

Date Taken: February 18, 2009
Photographer / Contributor: G. Ekström, M. Nettles and V.C. Tsai, 2006.

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Seismological_Grand_Challenges, Long_Range_Science_Plan,

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