Letter | Published:

Iceberg calving from floating glaciers by a vibrating mechanism

Nature volume 274, pages 464466 (03 August 1978) | Download Citation

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Abstract

OBSERVATIONS of Antarctic super tabular icebergs1–5, which can exceed 100 km on a side, have shown that their origin can frequently be traced to previously existing super ice tongues, which are a class of massive seawards-extending ice shelves. Furthermore, a history of cyclic growth and calving can often be inferred2–4 or demonstrated6,7. Because the calvings do not generally occur along a line coincident with the grounding line, where, under normal tidal flexure the stresses are greatest8,9, and because multiple fracturing is observed1,2 we have sought a nontidal theory for ice-tongue fracture9. A mechanism for generating significant bending stresses at locations along an ice tongue far from the grounding zone is by vibration of the glacier in a mode higher than the fundamental10. In this report, we outline an approximate analysis of the modes of free vibration of a buoyant, elastic, tapering ice tongue floating in shallow water of variable depth.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Glaciology Division, Environment Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A OE7

    • G. HOLDSWORTH
    •  & J. GLYNN

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/274464a0

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