Measuring tiny icequakes

Aug 29, 2013
Recording icequakes at Rutford Icestream. Credit: Andy Smith

Measuring tiny icequakes is helping British Antarctic Survey scientists investigate ice streams despite the challenging environment they have to work in.

The work of Emma Smith, a PhD candidate at BAS, has been highlighted in the latest edition of the European Geosciences Union's quarterly newsletter, EGU GeoQ.

The latest newsletter marks a change for the EGU with a stronger focus on . It also corresponds to a new section on the EGU website for young scientists.

Emma told writer Becky Summers how she is using seismic data obtained at the Rutford Ice Stream in West Antarctica to get a clearer picture of how they flow.

The work is complicated by the fact the streams flow over a bed which is usually buried under kilometres of ice.

For this reason scientists use techniques derived from called passive microseismic monitoring.

This process involves placing geophones - which convert into voltage - on the ice stream surface to record the icequakes produces as it moves over the bed.

Using the data received allows Emma to build up a picture of the mechanisms that cause the icequakes, meaning she can better understand how the stream moves.

Emma started her career in engineering, moved into exploration geophysics and spent several years working for the oil and gas industry before returning to research.

Explore further: Ancient marine algae provides clues of climate change impact on today's microscopic ocean organisms

More information: www.egu.eu/newsletter/geoq/07.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists observe drumlin beneath ice sheet

Jan 23, 2007

Scientists have discovered a warehouse-sized drumlin – a mound of sediment and rock – actively forming and growing under the ice sheet in Antarctica. Its discovery, and the rate at which it was formed, sheds new light ...

New research provides insight into ice sheet behavior

Jul 20, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new study published this week takes scientists a step further in their quest to understand how Antarctica's vast glaciers will contribute to future sea-level rise. Reporting in the journal ...

Recommended for you

Bridgmanite: World's most abundant mineral finally named

18 hours ago

A team of geologists in the U.S. has finally found an analyzable sample of the most abundant mineral in the world allowing them to give it a name: bridgmanite. In their paper published in the journal Science, the te ...

Volcano in south Japan erupts, disrupting flights

Nov 28, 2014

A volcano in southern Japan is blasting out chunks of magma in the first such eruption in 22 years, causing flight cancellations and prompting warnings to stay away from its crater.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.