A plot-scale study of firn stratigraphy at Lomonosovfonna, Svalbard, using ice cores, borehole video and GPR surveys in 2012-14

Sergey Marchenko*, Veijo A. Pohjola, Rickard Pettersson, Ward J.J. Van Pelt, Carmen P. Vega, Horst Machguth, Carl Egede Bøggild, Elisabeth Isaksson

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Spatial heterogeneity of snow and firn properties on glaciers introduces uncertainty in interpretation of point and profile observations and complicates modelling of meltwater percolation and runoff. Here we present a study of the temporal and spatial dynamics of firn density and stratigraphy at the plot-scale (≈10 m × 10 m × 10 m) repeated annually during 2012-14 at the Lomonosovfonna icefield, Svalbard. Results from cores, video inspections in boreholes and radar grid surveys are compared. Ice layers 0.1-50 cm thick comprised ≈8% of the borehole length. Most of them are 1-3 cm thick and could not be traced between boreholes separated by 3 m. Large lateral variability of firn structure affects representativeness of observations in single holes and calls for repeated studies in multiple points to derive a representative stratigraphy signal. Radar reflections are poorly correlated with ice layers in individual boreholes. However, the match between the high amplitude peaks in the grid-averaged radar signal and horizons of preferential ice layer formation revealed by averaging the video surveys over multiple boreholes is higher. These horizons are interpreted as buried firn layers previously exposed to melt-freeze or wind-driven densification and several of them are consistently recovered throughout three field campaigns.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Glaciology
Volume63
Issue number237
Pages (from-to)67-78
Number of pages12
ISSN0022-1430
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

Keywords

  • borehole video
  • firn core
  • radar
  • stratigraphy

Cite this

Marchenko, S., Pohjola, V. A., Pettersson, R., Van Pelt, W. J. J., Vega, C. P., Machguth, H., Bøggild, C. E., & Isaksson, E. (2017). A plot-scale study of firn stratigraphy at Lomonosovfonna, Svalbard, using ice cores, borehole video and GPR surveys in 2012-14. Journal of Glaciology, 63(237), 67-78. https://doi.org/10.1017/jog.2016.118