University of Cambridge > > Scott Polar Research Institute - Polar Physical Sciences Seminar > Linking ice-cliff and rock-slope failures

Linking ice-cliff and rock-slope failures

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Shear failure of ice during glacier frontal calving events shares many characteristics of rock-slope failures (RSFs) in high mountain areas; Nevertheless, the investigation of gravity-driven instabilities that shape rock cliffs and glacier fronts have been dissociated research topics so far. The dynamic processes shaping the termini of glacier fronts and thus directly a major contribution to sea level rise have attracted the attention of the scientific community. Although recent research has shed light on the dynamics of tidewater glaciers, a full understanding of the calving phenomena is still elusive. This epistemic uncertainty may be related not only to the highly non-linear dynamics of the calving phenomena, but also to the 2D nature and the limited spatial and temporal resolution of the techniques typically used for investigating the rapidly evolving glacier front. Through my two year Marie-Curie H2020 project, I am progressively adapting my previous research interests (4D investigation of RSF using Terrestrial LiDAR and Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry) to the investigation of glacier front dynamics, aiming to gain understanding of the processes leading to discrete calving events, to adapt landslide modelling techniques for investigating glacier response to external forces and to explore the apparent randomness of calving events. Working in the reverse direction, this research project will allow me to analyse a plethora of recorded calving events in order to shed light on natural slope evolution.

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

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