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Erosion by an Alpine glacier

Herman, Frédéric and Beyssac, Olivier and Brughelli, Mattia and Lane, Stuart N. and Leprince, Sébastien and Adatte, Thierry and Lin, Jiao Y. Y. and Avouac, Jean-Philippe and Cox, Simon C. (2015) Erosion by an Alpine glacier. Science, 350 (6257). pp. 193-195. ISSN 0036-8075.

[img] PDF (Materials and Methods; Figs. S1 to S10; References (33–53); Captions for Tables S1 and S2; Captions for Movies S1 and S2) - Supplemental Material
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[img] MS Excel (Table S1 Worldview stereo-pairs for each date( - Supplemental Material
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[img] MS Excel (Table S2 Bedrock RSCM temperature) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Video (QuickTime) (Movie S1 Upper panel shows erosion rates with distance from the sampling station for each day shown with the magenta dot in the bottom panel. The middle panel shows the erosion rate integrated over the glacier. The bottom panel is the precipitation rate) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Video (QuickTime) (Movie S2 Relative frequency of RSCM temperature used to infer the erosion patterns shown in Movie S1. It shows that most of the measured RSCM temperature are between 400 and 500°C) - Supplemental Material
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Assessing the impact of glaciation on Earth’s surface requires understanding glacial erosion processes. Developing erosion theories is challenging because of the complex nature of the erosion processes and the difficulty of examining the ice/bedrock interface of contemporary glaciers. We demonstrate that the glacial erosion rate is proportional to the ice-sliding velocity squared, by quantifying spatial variations in ice-sliding velocity and the erosion rate of a fast-flowing Alpine glacier. The nonlinear behavior implies a high erosion sensitivity to small variations in topographic slope and precipitation. A nonlinear rate law suggests that abrasion may dominate over other erosion processes in fast-flowing glaciers. It may also explain the wide range of observed glacial erosion rates and, in part, the impact of glaciation on mountainous landscapes during the past few million years.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Materials
Leprince, Sébastien0000-0003-4555-8975
Lin, Jiao Y. Y.0000-0001-9233-0100
Avouac, Jean-Philippe0000-0002-3060-8442
Additional Information:© 2015 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received 31 March 2015; accepted 3 September 2015. The authors thank B. Anderson for field support. F.H., M.B., and S.L thank the Fonds d'Investissement from the Faculty of Geosciences and Environnement at the University of Lausanne. F.H. was funded by Swiss National Science Foundation grant PP00P2_138956. S.L, J.Y.Y.L., and J.-P.A. were funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through grant GBM 2808 and NSF Earth Sciences grant 1348704. O.B. was funded by the City of Paris (Emergence Program), Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers, and Sorbonne Universités (Per-SU program). Three anonymous reviewers are thanked for their constructive reviews. K. Cuffey is thanked for his feedback. Data are available in the supplementary materials.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)PP00P2_138956
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationGBM 2808
Institut national des sciences de l'Univers (INSU)UNSPECIFIED
Sorbonne UniversitésUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6257
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150929-080354449
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Official Citation:Erosion by an Alpine glacier Frédéric Herman, Olivier Beyssac, Mattia Brughelli, Stuart N. Lane, Sébastien Leprince, Thierry Adatte, Jiao Y. Y. Lin, Jean-Philippe Avouac, and Simon C. Cox Science 9 October 2015: 350 (6257), 193-195. [DOI:10.1126/science.aab2386]
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:60587
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:19 Oct 2015 17:51
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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