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Tag: Ground-penetrating radar
  • Ground-penetrating Radar Studies of Permafrost, Periglacial, and Near-surface

    Abstract: Installations built on ice, permafrost, or seasonal frozen ground require careful design to avoid melting issues. Therefore, efforts to rebuild McMurdo Station, Antarctica, to improve operational efficiency and consolidate energy resources require knowledge of near-surface geology. Both 200 and 400 MHz ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data were collected in McMurdo during January, October, and November of 2015 to detect the active layer, permafrost, excess ice, fill thickness, solid bedrock depth, and buried utilities or construction and waste debris. Our goal was to ultimately improve surficial geology knowledge from a geotechnical perspective. Radar penetration ranged between approximately 3 and 10 m depth for the 400 and 200 MHz antennas, respectively. Both antennas successfully detect buried utilities and near-surface stratified material to ~0.5–3.0 m whereas 200 MHz profiles were more useful for mapping deeper stratified and un-stratified fill over bedrock. Artificially generated excess ice which appears to have been created from runoff, water pooling and refreezing, aspect shading from buildings, and snowpack buried under fill, are prevalent. Results show that McMurdo Station has a complex myriad of ice-rich fill, scoria, fractured volcanic bedrock, permafrost, excess ice, and buried anthropogenically generated debris, each of which must be considered during future construction.
  • Brine, Englacial Structure, and Basal Properties near the Terminus of McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    Abstract: We collected ∼1300 km of ground-penetrating radar profiles over McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica, using frequencies between 40 and 400 MHz to determine extent, continuity and depth to the brine. We also used profiles to determine meteoric ice thickness and locate englacial features, which may suggest ice shelf instability. The brine extends 9–13 km inland from the ice shelf terminus and covers the entire region between Ross, White and Black Islands. Jump unconformities and basal fractures exist in the brine and ice shelf, respectively, suggesting prior fracturing and re-suturing. One 100 MHz profile, the most distal from the ice shelf edge while still being situated over the brine, simultaneously imaged the brine and bottom of meteoric ice. This suggests a negative brine salinity gradient moving away from the terminus. The meteoric ice bottom was also imaged in a few select locations through blue ice in the ablation zone near Black Island. We suggest that brine, sediment-rich ice and poor antenna coupling on rough ice attenuates the signal in this area. When combined with other recent mass-balance and structural glaciology studies of MIS, our results could contribute to one of the most high-resolution physical models of an ice shelf in Antarctica.