Seismic multiplet response triggered by melt at Blood Falls, Taylor Glacier, Antarctica

TitleSeismic multiplet response triggered by melt at Blood Falls, Taylor Glacier, Antarctica
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsCarmichael, JD, Pettit, E, Hoffman, M, Fountain, AG, Hallet, B
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface
Date Published07/2012

Meltwater input often triggers a seismic response from glaciers and ice sheets. It is difficult, however, to measure melt production on glaciers directly, while subglacial water storage is not directly observable. Therefore, we document temporal changes in seismicity from a dry-based polar glacier (Taylor Glacier, Antarctica) during a melt season using a synthesis of seismic observation and melt modeling. We record icequakes using a dense six-receiver network of three-component geophones and compare this with melt input generated from a calibrated surface energy balance model. In the absence of modeled surface melt, we find that seismicity is well-described by a diurnal signal composed of microseismic events in lake and glacial ice. During melt events, the diurnal signal is suppressed and seismicity is instead characterized by large glacial icequakes. We perform network-based correlation and clustering analyses of seismic record sections and determine that 18% of melt-season icequakes are repetitive (multiplets). The epicentral locations for these multiplets suggest that they are triggered by meltwater produced near a brine seep known as Blood Falls. Our observations of the correspondingp-wave first motions are consistent with volumetric source mechanisms. We suggest that surface melt enables a persistent pathway through this cold ice to an englacial fracture system that is responsible for brine release episodes from the Blood Falls seep. The scalar moments for these events suggest that the volumetric increase at the source region can be explained by melt input.

Short TitleJ. Geophys. Res.