Distributed Acoustic Sensing of Seismic Properties in a Borehole Drilled on a Fast-Flowing Greenlandic Outlet Glacier

Adam D. Booth, Poul Christoffersen, Charlotte Schoonman, Andy Clarke, Bryn Hubbard, Rob Law, Samuel H. Doyle, Thomas R. Chudley, Athena Chalari

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Abstract

Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) is a new technology in which seismic energy is detected, at high spatial and temporal resolution, using the propagation of laser pulses in a fiber-optic cable. We show analyses from the first glaciological borehole DAS deployment to measure the englacial and subglacial seismic properties of Store Glacier, a fast-flowing outlet of the Greenland Ice Sheet. We record compressional and shear waves in 1,043 m-deep vertical seismic profiles, sampled at 10 m vertical resolution, and detect a transition from isotropic to anisotropic ice at 84% of ice thickness, consistent with the Holocene-Wisconsin transition. We identify subglacial reflections originating from the base of a 20 m-thick layer of consolidated sediment and, from attenuation measurements, interpret temperate ice in the lowermost 100 m of the glacier. Our findings highlight the promising potential of DAS technology to constrain the seismic properties of glaciers and ice sheets.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GL088148
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume47
Issue number13
Early online date07 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS)
  • Greenland Ice Sheet
  • Vertical Seismic Profile (VSP)
  • anisotropy
  • borehole surveying
  • subglacial sediment

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