Measuring seismic attenuation in polar firn: method and application to Korff Ice Rise, West Antarctica

We present seismic measurements of the firn column at Korff Ice Rise, West Antarctica, including measurements of compressional-wave velocity and attenuation. We describe a modified spectral-ratio method of measuring the seismic quality factor (Q) based on analysis of diving waves, which, combined with a stochastic method of error propagation, enables us to characterise the attenuative structure of firn in greater detail than has previously been possible. Q increases from 56 ± 23 in the uppermost 12 m to 570 ± 450 between 55 and 77 m depth. We corroborate our method with consistent measurements obtained via primary reflection, multiple, source ghost, and critically refracted waves. Using the primary reflection and its ghost, we find Q = 53 ± 20 in the uppermost 20 m of firn. From the critical refraction, we find Q = 640 ± 400 at 90 m depth. Our method aids the understanding of the seismic structure of firn and benefits characterisation of deeper glaciological targets, providing an alternative means of correcting seismic reflection amplitudes in cases where conventional methods of Q correction may be impossible.


Publication status:
Published Online
Authors: Agnew, Ronan S. ORCIDORCID record for Ronan S. Agnew, Clark, Roger A., Booth, Adam D., Brisbourne, Alex M. ORCIDORCID record for Alex M. Brisbourne, Smith, Andrew M. ORCIDORCID record for Andrew M. Smith

On this site: Alex Brisbourne, Andy Smith, Ronan Agnew
26 October, 2023
Journal of Glaciology
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