The crystal fabric of ice from full-waveform borehole sonic logging

In an ice sheet, a preferred crystal orientation fabric affects deformation rates because ice crystals are strongly anisotropic: shear along the basal plane is significantly easier than shear perpendicular to the basal plane. The effect of fabric can be as important as temperature in defining deformation rates. Fabric is typically measured using analysis of thin sections under the microscope with co-polarized light. Due to the time-consuming and destructive nature of these measurements, however, it is difficult to capture the spatial variation in fabric necessary for evincing ice sheet flow patterns. Because an ice crystal is similarly elastically anisotropic, the speed of elastic waves through ice can be used as a proxy for quantify anisotropy. We use borehole sonic logging measurements and thin section data from Dome C, East Antarctica to define the relations between apparent fabric and borehole measured elastic speeds (compressionalVP and vertically polarized shear VSV). These relations, valid for single maximum fabrics, allow in-situ, depth-continuous fabric estimates of unimodal fabric strength from borehole sonic logging. We describe the single maximum fabric usinga1: the largest eigenvalue of the second-order orientation tensor. For ice at -16°C anda1in the 0.7-1 range the relations areVP = 248 a13.7 + 3755 m s-1 and VSV = -210a17.3 + 1968 m s-1.


Gusmeroli, A., E.C. Pettit, J.H. Kennedy, and C. Ritz. 2012. The crystal fabric of ice from full-waveform borehole sonic logging. Journal of Geophysical Research. 117(F3): DOI: