Project Information
Collaborative Research: Fabric and Texture Characteristics of Micro-Physical Processes in Ice
Siple Dome Ice Core

This is a collaborative proposal by Principal Investigators at the University of Washington and Ohio University. Detailed knowledge about the interactions between micro-structure of ice and its deformation is needed to assess the integrity of stratigraphic layering and the depth-age relationship in ice cores, which is essential for interpreting the paleoclimate record. The Principal Investigators will use micro-structure to study fabric, the orientation distribution of crystal c-axes, and texture, the size and shape of crystals. Numerical modeling of ice deformation is a useful tool in understanding these interactions. Accurate modeling of ice deformation is complicated by factors, such as the fabric, grain size, dynamic recrystallization, stress level, and precise knowledge of initial conditions. For example, ice fabric evolves as the ice is strained and the deformation depends on the fabric. This complicated feedback mechanism must be understood to correctly model ice deformation. In another example, the usual assumption is that the initial fabric is isotropic or random, but there are excellent examples of near-surface ice in the ice cores that are apparently not isotropic. One must know the initial fabric to calculate the deformation rate in ice sheets. Dr. Wilen will combine results of his new automatic fabric analyzer (AFA) with predictions of detailed ice deformation models (Dr. Thorsteinsson) to refine and better constrain such models. The AFA gives new information in thin sections because the precision and number of measured c-axis orientations are greatly improved. The Principal Investigators will analyze existing data and collect new data on fabric and texture from ice cores to address questions regarding near-surface fabric, deformation mechanisms, dynamic recrystallization, and potential sources of layer disturbances. The data will be used to constrain models of fabric evolution and recrystallization processes. With the more refined models, scientists can address different questions and important problems related to ice deformation and ice cores. For example, the recent agreement between the climate records from the Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP) and Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2) ice cores of the upper-90%, and the disagreement in the lower-10% emphasizes the need to understand and predict the mechanisms and probable depths of disruption in these and future deep ice cores. Evidence suggests that the stratigraphic disturbances arise from the anisotropic nature of ice crystals at a variety of scales. To properly model the deformation of anisotropic ice, the influence of fabric on deformation must be well known.
Person Role
Wilen, Larry Investigator
Antarctic Glaciology Award # 0135989
Arctic Natural Sciences Award # 0135989
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Product Level:
0 (raw data)
Repository Title (link) Format(s) Status
USAP-DC Ice Fabric Characteristics: Siple Dome, A Core None exist
Platforms and Instruments

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