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Why do glaciers fall apart?

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Steven Palmer.

Most of the time, glaciologists treat ice as a highly viscous fluid, something quite different from our everyday experience of the material. However, near the margins of ice sheets and glaciers, our intuitive ideas of ice as a brittle solid become more important. A broad family of processes lead to the breakup of the ice, and the calving of icebergs. While the details of the fracture process are still unknown, it is possible to say a lot about the sensitivity of calving by examining the response of the stress field within the glacier to changes at the margins. In this talk I will discuss some of these effects, focusing on the response of tidewater glaciers to frontal melting.

This talk is part of the Scott Polar Research Institute - Physical Sciences Seminar series.

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