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Antarctic Science

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Abstract/ Summary

East Antarctic ice discharged by Byrd Glacier continues as a flowband to the calving front of the Ross Ice Shelf. Flow across the grounding line changes from compressive to extensive as it leaves the fjord through the Transantarctic Mountains occupied by Byrd Glacier. Magnitudes of the longitudinal compressive stress that suppress opening of transverse tensile cracks are calculated for the flowband. As compressive back stresses diminish, initial depths and subsequent growth of these cracks, and their spacing, are calculated using theories of elastic and ductile fracture mechanics. Cracks are initially about one millimeter wide, with approximately 30 in depths and 20 in spacings for a back stress of 83 kPa at a distance of 50 kin beyond the fjord, where floating ice is 600 in thick. When these crevasses penetrate the whole ice thickness, they release tabular icebergs 20 kin to 100 kin wide, spaced parallel to the calving front of the Ross Ice Shelf

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Kenneally, JR, and Hughes, TJ, 2004, Fracture and Back Stress Along the Byrd Glacier Flowband on the Ross Ice Shelf: Antarctic Science, v. 16, p. 345-354. Available on publisher's site at:

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© Copyright 2004 by Cambridge University Press




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