# Flow law for ice in polar ice sheets

Theories of glacier flow are based commonly on the assumption that ice is not a newtonian fluid, but has a non-linear stress-dependent viscosity1–5. Here we re-examine the spreading of Antarctic ice shelves and suggest that the data cannot define a unique flow law. Tilt measurements in four boreholes in both the Arctic and Antarctic seem to show that a linear flow law ε̇ = A1τ (where A1∼10−15 s−1 Pa−1 at −28 °C), where ε̇ is the effective strain rate and τ the effective shear stress, may be just as appropriate for describing the flow of polar ice sheets.

### Details

Publication status:
Published
Author(s):
Authors: Doake, C.S.M., Wolff, Eric W.

On this site: Eric Wolff
Date:
1 January, 1985
Journal/Source:
Nature / 314
Page(s):
255-257