Prolific Sources of Icequakes: The Mulock and Skelton Glaciers, Antarctica
Abstract:The Mulock and Skelton Glaciers are large outlet glaciers that flow through the Transantarctic Mountains and into the Ross Ice Shelf. A regional seismic deployment in the central Transantarctic Mountains (TAM) in 1999-2000 led to the identification of 63 events in the vicinity of Mulock and Skelton Glaciers [Bannister and Kennett, 2002]. A more recent study utilizing seismic data collected as part of the POLENET/A-NET and AGAP projects during 2009 again identified significant seismicity associated with these glaciers and suggested that many of these events were icequakes based on their shallow depths [Lough, 2014]. These two glaciers represent the most seismically active regions in the TAM aside from the well-studied David Glacier region [Danesi et al, 2007; Zoet et al., 2012]. In addition, many of the icequakes from this region have magnitude ML > 2.5, in contrast to most glacial events that are generally of smaller magnitude.
Using the waveforms of previously identified icequakes as templates, nearby POLENET/A-NET, AGAP, and GSN seismic stations were scanned using a cross-correlation method to find similar waveforms. We then used a relative location algorithm to determine high-precision locations and depths. The use of regional velocity models derived from recent seismic studies facilitates accurate absolute locations that we interpret in the context of the local geological and glacial features. The icequakes are concentrated in heavily crevassed regions associated with steep bedrock topography, likely icefalls. Future work will focus on determining whether these events are associated with stick-slip events at the bed of the glacier and/or crevasse formation near the surface. In addition the temporal pattern of seismicity will also be examined to search for repeating icequakes, which have been identified at the base of several other glaciers.