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Observation of surface seismic activity changes of an Alpine glacier during a glacier‐dammed lake outburst

Abstract : During the 2004 outburst flood of Gornersee, Switzerland, we observed surface microseismic activity (so‐called icequakes) near the glacier‐dammed lake on Gornergletscher. Using surface waves, we located near‐surface tensile fracturing events by inverting time delays using a quasi‐Newton scheme. We located 8520 near‐surface events with uncertainties of less than 10 m. Seismic activity increased during the lake drainage, and the icequake epicenters migrated downglacier. Furthermore, we identified events whose fault plane orientations are nearly perpendicular to the local pattern of surface crevassing. These observations can be explained by the rotation of principal strains at the glacier surface deduced from local ice flow measurement which occurred during the flotation of the ice dam at the onset of the lake drainage. In general, we suggest that our technique is a useful tool to locate large data sets of microseismic events and can be used to monitor the temporal evolution of fracture processes and their dependence on glacier flow and glacier hydrology.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-00651299
Contributor : Pascale Talour <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 12:00:54 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, October 25, 2020 - 8:26:02 PM

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F. Roux P., F. Walter, P. Riesen, S. Sugiyama, M. Funk. Observation of surface seismic activity changes of an Alpine glacier during a glacier‐dammed lake outburst. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, American Geophysical Union/Wiley, 2010, 115, pp.F03014. ⟨10.1029/2009JF001535⟩. ⟨insu-00651299⟩

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