Observations of the creep of polar firn release_q3o2q3wszzcnpi6lqtfxhqkvyu

by Yuan Li, Ian Baker

Published in Journal of Glaciology by Cambridge University Press (CUP).

2021   p1-19

Abstract

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> Constant-load creep tests were performed at −10°C at various compressive stresses from 0.05 to 0.75 MPa on specimens taken every 10 m along a firn core extracted at Summit, Greenland in June 2017. The microstructures before and after creep testing were examined using both X-ray microtomography (micro-CT) and optical images from thin sections. An Andrade-like equation was used to describe the primary creep behavior and yielded the time exponent <jats:italic>k</jats:italic> of 0.17–0.76. The onset of secondary creep occurred at strains of ~0.5–3% but was sometimes not observed at all in shallow firn specimens and at stresses ⩽0.43 MPa even for strain up to 32%. For the 50–80 m firn crept at stresses ⩾0.55 MPa, secondary creep occurred at strains of 2.6 ± 0.28%, and the stress exponent, <jats:italic>n</jats:italic>, in Glen's law, was found to range from 4.1 to 4.6, similar to those observed for fully dense ice. Micro-CT observations of crept specimens showed that in most cases, the specific surface area, the total porosity and the structure model index decreased, while the structure thickness increased with increasing density. These microstructural characteristics are consistent with the densification of the firn. Optical images from thin sections showed that recrystallization occurred in some specimens that had undergone secondary creep.
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