Project Information
Collaborative Research: Freeze-on of Subglacial Sediments in Experiments and Theory
Start Date:
End Date:
The fastest-changing regions of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets that contribute most to sea-level rise are underlain by soft sediments that facilitate glacier motion. Glacier ice can infiltrate several meters into these sediments, depending on the temperature and water pressure at the base of the glacier. To understand how ice infiltration into subglacial sediments affects glacier slip, the team will conduct laboratory experiments under relevant temperature and pressure conditions and compare the results to state-of-the-art mathematical models. Through an undergraduate research exchange between University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dartmouth College, and the College of Menominee Nation, Native American students will work on laboratory experiments in one summer and mathematical theory in the following summer.

Ice-sediment interactions are a central component of ice-sheet and landform-development models. Limited process understanding poses a key uncertainty for ice-sheet models that are used to forecast sea-level rise. This uncertainty underscores the importance of developing experimentally validated, theoretically robust descriptions of processes at the ice-sediment interface. To achieve this, the team aims to build on long-established theoretical, experimental, and field investigations that have elucidated the central role of premelting and surface-energy effects in controlling the dynamics of frost heave in soils. Project members will theoretically describe and experimentally test the role of premelting at the basal ice-sediment interface. The experiments are designed to provide quantitative insight into the impact of ice infiltration into sediments on glacier sliding, erosion, and subglacial landform evolution.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Person Role
Meyer, Colin Investigator and contact
Rempel, Alan Co-Investigator
Zoet, Lucas Co-Investigator
Hansen, Dougal Researcher
Stubblefield, Aaron Researcher
Warburton, Kasia Researcher
Antarctic Glaciology Award # 2012958
Arctic Natural Sciences Award # 2012958
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Product Level:
Not provided
Repository Title (link) Format(s) Status
USAP-DC Frozen fringe friction ZIP Archive exists
USAP-DC Ring shear bed deformation measurements ZIP Archive exists
  1. Meyer, C. R., Schoof, C., & Rempel, A. W. (2023). A thermomechanical model for frost heave and subglacial frozen fringe. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 964. (doi:10.1017/jfm.2023.366)
  2. Stubblefield, A. G., Wearing, M. G., & Meyer, C. R. (2023). Linear analysis of ice-shelf topography response to basal melting and freezing. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 479(2277). (doi:10.1098/rspa.2023.0290)
  3. Stubblefield, A. G., Meyer, C. R., Siegfried, M. R., Sauthoff, W., & Spiegelman, M. (2023). Reconstructing subglacial lake activity with an altimetry-based inverse method. Journal of Glaciology, 1–15. (doi:10.1017/jog.2023.90)
  4. Del Vecchio, J., Palucis, M. C., & Meyer, C. R. (2024). Permafrost extent sets drainage density in the Arctic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 121(6). (doi:10.1073/pnas.2307072120)

This project has been viewed 19 times since May 2019 (based on unique date-IP combinations)