Deep, dark and dynamic: Converted-wave seismology to explore the physical properties of Antarctic glacier ice

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: School of Earth and Environment


Quantitative seismic analysis holds the key to establishing the mechanical properties of glaciers - the very properties which are required to accurately parameterise predictive models of glacier dynamics.

Global sea levels are predicted to rise by ~1 m over the next 100 years, but such estimates are uncertain. To improve model predictions, a comprehensive description of all aspects of the glacier system is required, motivating the development of novel survey techniques.

Seismic surveys are a powerful means of accessing the deep, dynamic underbelly of an ice mass. Hitherto, most seismic surveys considered only the P-wave component of the wavefield, and converted-wave seismology has been largely overlooked. Converted-waves could, however, offer an untapped resource of interpretative insight.

This project explores the scope of converted-wave seismology to quantify fundamental glaciological properties - potentially spanning basal hydrology, ice temperature and flow fabrics. Test data will be acquired during the project on Norway's Hardangerjokulen ice cap with existing datasets provided, by the British Antarctic Survey and the Thwaites Glacier TIME project, at two priority Antarctic sites.

The successful development of converted-wave methodologies will broaden the glaciological seismic toolbox, providing novel insight at sites of international research interest.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/S007458/1 01/09/2019 31/08/2027
2287637 Studentship NE/S007458/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2023 Ronan Samuel Agnew