• Active seismic studies in valley glacier settings: strategies and limitations

      Zechmann, Jenna M.; Booth, Adam D.; Truffer, Martin; Gusmeroli, Alessio; Amundson, Jason M.; Larsen, Christopher S. (International Glaciological Society, 2018-09-20)
      Subglacial tills play an important role in glacier dynamics but are difficult to characterize in situ. Amplitude Variation with Angle (AVA) analysis of seismic reflection data can distinguish between stiff tills and deformable tills. However, AVA analysis in mountain glacier environments can be problem- atic: reflections can be obscured by Rayleigh wave energy scattered from crevasses, and complex basal topography can impede the location of reflection points in 2-D acquisitions. We use a forward model to produce challenging synthetic seismic records in order to test the efficacy of AVA in crevassed and geo- metrically complex environments. We find that we can distinguish subglacial till types in moderately cre- vassed environments, where ‘moderate’ depends on crevasse spacing and orientation. The forward model serves as a planning tool, as it can predict AVA success or failure based on characteristics of the study glacier. Applying lessons from the forward model, we perform AVA on a seismic dataset col- lected from Taku Glacier in Southeast Alaska in March 2016. Taku Glacier is a valley glacier thought to overlay thick sediment deposits. A near-offset polarity reversal confirms that the tills are deformable.
    • Sediment redistribution beneath the terminus of an advancing glacier, Taku Glacier (T’aakú Kwáan Sít’i), Alaska.

      Zechmann, Jenna M.; Truffer, Martin; Motyka, R. J.; Amundson, Jason M.; Larsen, Christopher F.; la (Cambridge University Press, 2020-12-23)
      The recently-advancing Taku Glacier is excavating subglacial sediments at high rates over multidecadal timescales. However, sediment redistribution over shorter timescales remains unquantified. We use a variety of methods to study subglacial and proglacial sediment redistribution on decadal, seasonal, and daily timescales to gain insight into sub- and proglacial landscape formation. Both excavation and deposition were observed from 2003 to 2015 (2.8 ± 0.9ma−1 to +2.9 ± 0.9ma−1). The observed patterns imply that a subglacial conduit has occupied the same site over the past decade. Outwash fans on the subaerial end moraine experience fluvial sediment reworking almost year-round, with net sediment gain in winter and net sediment loss in summer, and an overall mass gain between 2005 and 2015.We estimate that tens of meters of sediment still underlie the glacier terminus, sediments which can be remobilized during future activity. However, imminent retreat from the proglacial moraine will limit its sediment supply, leaving the moraine vulnerable to erosion by bordering rivers. Retreat into an over-deepened basin will leave the glacier vulnerable to increased frontal ablation and accelerating retreat.