Lec7: Snow and Ice Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Lec7: Snow and Ice Deck (31):

How thick is the Antarctic ice sheet?

2.5km average, and 4.8km deepest point.


What area does the Antarctic ice sheet cover?

14 million km squared.


What is the volume of the Antarctic ice sheet, and how much of the world's freshwater does it hold?

30 million km cubed, holding 68% of world's freshwater.


If the antarctic ice sheet melted, through what process does the Antarctic continent rise another 900m high?

Isostatic rebound = loss of the weight of the ice sheet allows land mass below to rise over thousands of years.


Describe the stability of the EAIS compared to the WAIS ice sheet and give reasons.

EAIS = Land mostly above sea level = stable
WAIS = Land mostly below sea level = prone to catastrophic collapse


What is catastrophic collapse in terms of the WAIS?

WAIS ice thins. As it floats, it is prone to rapid deglaciation.


What was ANDRILL and what did it achieve? Give the names of the two nations, the location they drilled at, the length of the ice core, and how many years it dated.

US and NZ scientists drill into McMurdo ice shelf and retrieve a 1285m long ice core dating 13 million years of history.


Describe the layers found in the ANDRILL ice core in relation to ice sheet movement.

1. Ice-sheets thickening = gravel and mud layers
2. Ice-sheets thinning = marine mud and marine sediments layers


What three stages does snow go through as it falls, and describe each.

1. Freshly-fallen snow = fluffy + 80% air
2. Firn = layers thicken and experience compression
3. Glacial ice = continuous melting and refreezing


What is the max density of glacial ice?

0.92 grams per m cubed.


Glacier temperature is warm at the top, then cools throughout the midportion, but then becomes warmest again at the sole. What processes account for this sudden warming?

1. Geothermal heating from basement rock
2. Frictional heat - generated from deformation of ice and glacier flow


How is the movement of a glacier measured?

Placing a stake in the snow.


Is a glacier serrous or viscous, and does it move downhill or uphill?

Viscous liquid moving downhill.


What are the two "types" of glaciers and describe the differences.

1. Warm based (Temperate) - At deep levels, ice reaches pressure melting point and forms meltwater. Also, internal creep (internal plastic deformation) produces meltwater.
2. Cold based (Polar) - frozen to bedrock (doesn't reach pressure melting point even at deep levels). Only moves by internal creep.


Are glaciers faster if....
1. Large or small
2. Coastal or inland (and why?)
3. Steeper or shallower slope?

1. Large
2. Coastal = warmer, produces more meltwater
3. Steeper


Describe the movement of ice in terms of outlet glaciers and ice-streams from the center of the EAIS to the ice shelves and seas.

1. Ice flows outwards from center of EAIS (highest point) under gravity
2. Meltwater forms at deep levels, forming ice-streams
3. Strikes transantarctic mountains (acts like a damn)
4. Outlet glaciers squeeze through gaps
5. Outlet glaciers feed Ronne+Filchner and Ross Ice shelves, as well as Ross and Weddell Sea.


What are ice-streams?

Fast-flowing channels in the depths of an icesheet.


Why does the WAIS accumulate snow and ice faster than the EAIS?

Because it's surface is ravaged by storms.


What are crevasses?

The brittle top layer in an ice sheet cracks.


What does glacial erosion do to rocks?

Forms striations from abrasion from glacier flow.


If glacier flow continually abrades rocks, what substance forms and what does it do?

Forms rock flour, which gives glacial lakes a blue-green colour.


What are moraines, and what are the three types?

Rock debis carried by glacier flow due to glacial erosion.
1. Lateral moraine: debris at edges of glacier
2. Terminal moraine: debris at end of glacier
3. Ground moraine: Left over debris from when glacier melts


What is another name for Ground moraine?



What are Sastrugi?

Ridges formed on snow by wind erosion.


In what direction are Sastrugi?

Parallel to the direction of the prevailing wind.


What are cryncocite holes and why do they form?

Rock debris has higher albedo than surrounding ice, so it heats up and melts through the ice. It eventually stops melting through once it reaches an equilibrium point where heat gained from solar heating equals heat lost to surrounding ice.


Are crycocite holes always open to the atmosphere?

No, they can be lidded.


What are ice-shelves?

Floating ice sheets attached to coastal glacier.


What is the grounding line?

The point at which an ice sheet loses contact with the ground, forming an ice shelf.


In what three ways do ice shelves gain mass?

1. Snow falling on surface
2. Freezing of seawater at base
3. Flow of ice from inland to the coast


In what two ways do glaciers lose mass?

1. Calving of icebergs.
2. Melting