Glacier flexure and the position of grounding lines: measurements By tiltmeter on Rutford Ice Stream, Antarctica
Two methods were used to locate the grounding line on the Rutford Ice Stream. The first method determined where the glacier was floating in hydrostatic equilibrium, while the second method measured the flexing close to the grounding line due to ocean tides. The ratio of surface elevation to ice thickness of the glacier goes through the hydrostatic equilibrium value 1 to 2 km downstream of where tidal flexing was recorded. This behaviour can be explained if the upward pressure of the sea at the base of the ice is augmented by a vertical shear-stress gradient within the glacier to overcome its weight. Simple el as tie-beam theory matches the flexure profile data if a modified elastic modulus and effective thickness are used. Tiltmeters can he used to monitor the position of the grounding line if the geometry of the flexing region can be defined.