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Numerical modeling of iceberg capsizing responsible for glacial earthquakes

Résumé : The capsizing of icebergs calved from marine‐terminating glaciers generate horizontal forces on the glacier front, producing long‐period seismic signals referred to as glacial earthquakes. These forces can be estimated by broadband seismic inversion, but their interpretation in terms of magnitude and waveform variability is not straightforward. We present a numerical model for fluid drag that can be used to study buoyancy‐driven iceberg capsize dynamics and the generated contact forces on a calving face using the finite‐element approach. We investigate the sensitivity of the force to drag effects, iceberg geometry, calving style, and initial buoyancy. We show that there is no simple relationship between force amplitude and iceberg volume, and similar force magnitudes can be reached for different iceberg sizes. The force history and spectral content varies with the iceberg attributes. The iceberg aspect ratio primarily controls the capsize dynamics, the force shape, and force frequency, whereas the iceberg height has a stronger impact on the force magnitude. Iceberg hydrostatic imbalance generates contact forces with specific frequency peaks that explain the variability in glacial earthquake dominant frequency. For similar icebergs, top‐out and bottom‐out events have significantly different capsize dynamics leading to larger top‐out forces especially for thin icebergs. For realistic iceberg dimensions, we find contact‐force magnitudes that range between 5.6 × 1011 and 2 × 1014 kg·m, consistent with seismic observations. This study provides a useful framework for interpreting glacial earthquake sources and estimating the ice mass loss from coupled analysis of seismic signals and modeling results.
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Amandine Sergeant, Vladislav Yastrebov, Anne Mangeney, Olivier Castelnau, Jean-Paul Montagner, et al.. Numerical modeling of iceberg capsizing responsible for glacial earthquakes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, American Geophysical Union/Wiley, 2018, 123, pp.3013-3033. ⟨10.1029/2018JF004768⟩. ⟨hal-01943050⟩

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