13 Apr 2022
13 Apr 2022

Cryo-seismicity triggered by ice mass discharge through the Antarctic subglacial hydrographic network

Stefania Danesi1, Simone Salimbeni1, Alessandra Borghi1, Stefano Urbini2, and Massimo Frezzotti3 Stefania Danesi et al.
  • 1Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  • 2Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Roma2, Roma, Italy
  • 3Department of Science, Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy

Abstract. We analyze seismic time series collected during experimental campaigns in the area of the David Glacier, South Victoria Land, Antarctica, between 2003 and 2016. We observe hundreds of repeating seismic events, characterized by highly correlated waveforms (cross-correlation > 0.95), which mainly occur in the floating area between the grounding and the floating line of the ice stream. The joint analysis of seismic occurrences and observed local tide measurements seem to show that seismicity is not triggered by a seasonal, regular, periodic forcing such as the ocean tide, but more likely by transient irregular impulses. We consider possible environmental processes and their impact on the coupling between the glacier flow and the bedrock brittle failure. Our results suggest that clustered and repeated seismic events may be correlated with transient episodes of mass ice discharge (observed by satellite GRACE and GRACE-FO experiments) through the subglacial hydrographic system that originates upstream of the glacier and extends to the grounding zone, lubricating the interface with the bedrock.

Stefania Danesi et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-29', Anonymous Referee #1, 27 Apr 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Stefania Danesi, 02 May 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-29', Ugo Nanni, 04 Jul 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Stefania Danesi, 11 Jul 2022
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-29', Fabian Walter, 03 Aug 2022

Stefania Danesi et al.

Stefania Danesi et al.


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Short summary
Clusters of low-energy seismic events, concentrated in space and time, characterized by highly correlated waveforms (cross-correlation coefficient ≥ 0.95), occur at the floating area of a major ice stream in Antarctica (David Glacier, North Victoria Land). The transient injection of fluids from the David catchment into the regional subglacial hydrographic network, observed by GRACE measurements, is indicated as the main trigger for clustered and repeated seismic occurrences.