Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Seismic detection and analysis of icequakes at Columbia Glacier, Alaska

September 1, 2007

Contributions to sea level rise from rapidly retreating marine-terminating glaciers are large and increasing. Strong increases in iceberg calving occur during retreat, which allows mass transfer to the ocean at a much higher rate than possible through surface melt alone. To study this process, we deployed an 11-sensor passive seismic network at Columbia Glacier, Alaska, during 2004–2005. We show that calving events generate narrow-band seismic signals, allowing frequency domain detections. Detection parameters were determined using direct observations of calving and validated using three statistical methods and hypocenter locations. The 1–3 Hz detections provide a good measure of the temporal distribution and size of calving events. Possible source mechanisms for the unique waveforms are discussed, and we analyze potential forcings for the observed seismicity.

Publication Year 2007
Title Seismic detection and analysis of icequakes at Columbia Glacier, Alaska
DOI 10.1029/2006JF000595
Authors Shad O'Neel, Hans P. Marshall, Daniel E. McNamara, William Tad Pfeffer
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Geophysical Research
Index ID 70174313
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center