Alpine glaciers are key components of local and regional hydrogeological cycles and real-time indicators of climate change. Volume variations are primary targets of investigation for the understanding of ongoing modifications and the forecast of possible future scenarios. These fluctuations can be traced from time-lapse monitoring of the glacier topography. A detailed reconstruction of the ice bottom morphology is however needed to provide total volume and reliable mass balance estimations. Non-destructive geophysical techniques can support these investigations. With the aim of characterizing ice bottom depth, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) profiles and single-station passive seismic measurements were acquired on the terminal lobes of Belvedere Glacier (NW Italian Alps). The glacier is covered by blocks and debris and its rough topography is rapidly evolving in last years, with opening and relocation of crevasses and diffuse instabilities in the frontal sectors. Despite the challenging working environment, ground-based GPR surveys were performed in the period 2016–2018, using 70-MHz and 40-MHz antennas. The 3D ice bottom morphology was reconstructed for both frontal lobes and a detailed ice thickness map was obtained. GPR results also suggested some information on ice bottom properties. The glacier was found to probably lay on a thick sequence (more than 40 m) of subglacial deposits, rather than on stiff bedrock. Week deeper reflectors were identified only in the frontal portion of the northern lobe. These interfaces may indicate the bedrock presence at a depth of around 80 m from the topographic surface, rapidly deepening upstream. Single-station passive seismic measurements, processed with the horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (HVSR) method, pointed out the absence of sharp vertical contrast in acoustic impedance between ice and bottom materials, globally confirming the hypotheses made on GPR results. The obtained results have been compared with previous independent geophysical investigations, performed in 1961 and 1985, with the same aim of ice thickness estimation. The comparison allowed us to validate the results obtained in the different surveys, supply a reference base map for the glacier bottom morphology and potentially study ice thickness variations over time.
|Titolo:||Ice thickness estimation from geophysical investigations on the terminal lobes of Belvedere Glacier (NW Italian Alps)|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2019|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.3390/rs11070805|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|