25 Jul 2023
 | 25 Jul 2023

Towards the systematic reconnaissance of seismic signals from glaciers and ice sheets – Part B: Unsupervised learning for source process characterisation

Rebecca B. Latto, Ross J. Turner, Anya M. Reading, Sue Cook, Bernd Kulessa, and J. Paul Winberry

Abstract. Given the high number and diversity of events in a typical cryoseismic dataset, in particular those recorded on ice sheet margins, it is desirable to use a semi-automated method of grouping similar events for reconnaissance and ongoing analysis. We present a workflow for employing semi-unsupervised cluster analysis to inform investigations of the processes occurring in glaciers and ice sheets. In this demonstration study, we make use of a seismic event catalogue previously compiled for the Whillans Ice Stream, for the 2010–2011 austral summer (outlined in companion paper, Latto et al., 2023). We address the challenges of seismic event analysis for a complex wavefield by clustering similar seismic events into groups using characteristic temporal, spectral, and polarization attributes of seismic time series with the k-means++ algorithm. This provides the basis for a reconnaissance analysis of a seismic wavefield that contains local events (from the ice stream) set in an ambient wavefield that itself contains a diversity of signals (mostly from the Ross Ice Shelf). As one result, we find that two clusters include stick-slip events that diverge in terms of length and initiation locality (i.e. Central Sticky Spot and/or the grounding line). We also identify a swarm of high frequency signals on January 16–17, 2011 that are potentially associated with a surface melt event from the Ross Ice Shelf. Used together with the event detection presented in the companion paper, the semi-automated workflow could readily generalize to other locations, and as a possible benchmark procedure, could enable the monitoring of remote glaciers over time and comparisons between locations.

Rebecca B. Latto 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-2023-1341', Anonymous Referee #1, 13 Aug 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Rebecca Latto, 08 Sep 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1341', Anonymous Referee #2, 01 Sep 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Rebecca Latto, 08 Sep 2023

Rebecca B. Latto et al.

Rebecca B. Latto et al.


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Short summary
Seismic catalogues are potentially rich sources of information on glacier processes. In a companion study, we constructed an event catalogue for seismic data from the Whillans Ice Stream. Here, we provide a semi-automated workflow for consistent catalogue analysis using an unsupervised cluster analysis. We discuss the defining characteristics of identified signal types found in this catalogue, and possible mechanisms for the underlying glacier processes and noise sources.