Laboratory Study of Stick-Slip Behavior and Deformation Mechanics of Subglacial Till
This award supports a project to conduct laboratory experiments and numerical modeling to determine the constitutive properties of subglacial till under dynamic stressing and to test the hypothesis that granular properties of till are sufficient, when coupled elastically to a large ice stream, to reproduce the field observations of triggered slip and subglacial seismicity. Testing will be carried out in a servo-controlled biaxial shear device under controlled temperature and stress conditions, which will allow both sliding and microstructural processes to be studied in detail. The main focus of the work will be on laboratory measurements. In addition, we will construct continuum models to evaluate whether our results can predict complex ice sheet motions and observed characteristics of subglacial seismicity. In terms of broader impacts, the proposed work will encourage interactions between the rock-mechanics and glaciology communities and will bring together members of different scientific backgrounds and vocabularies, but similar problems and data. The project will train undergraduate and graduate students at Penn State University and the scientists involved plan to give presentations to grade school classes, scout groups, and at community open houses. Results will be presented at professional meetings and will be published in a timely manner. The work will result in a better understanding of glacial motion and the physics of earthquake slip, which is essential for understanding ice sheet dynamics and earthquake hazard.
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