Treatment of ice-shelf evolution combining flow and flexure

Douglas R. MacAyeal, Olga V. Sergienko, Alison F. Banwell, Grant J. Macdonald, Ian C. Willis, Laura A. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We develop a two-dimensional, plan-view formulation of ice-shelf flow and viscoelastic ice-shelf flexure. This formulation combines, for the first time, the shallow-shelf approximation for horizontal ice-shelf flow (and shallow-stream approximation for flow on lubricated beds such as where ice rises and rumples form), with the treatment of a thin-plate flexure. We demonstrate the treatment by performing two finite-element simulations: one of the relict pedestalled lake features that exist on some debris-covered ice shelves due to strong heterogeneity in surface ablation, and the other of ice rumpling in the grounding zone of an ice rise. The proposed treatment opens new venues to investigate physical processes that require coupling between the longitudinal deformation and vertical flexure, for instance, the effects of surface melting and supraglacial lakes on ice shelves, interactions with the sea swell, and many others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)885-902
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Glaciology
Issue number265
StatePublished - Oct 21 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes


  • Glaciological model experiments
  • ice rise
  • ice shelves


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