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Experimental fracture and mechanical properties of Antarctic ice preliminary results

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Citation:
Rist, M. A. , Sammonds, P. R. , Murrell, S. A. F. , Meredith, P. G. , Oerter, H. and Doake, C. S. M. (1996): Experimental fracture and mechanical properties of Antarctic ice preliminary results , Annals of Glaciology, 23 , pp. 284-292 .
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Abstract:

An experiment study of the fracture mechanics and rheology of ice from the Ronne Ice Shelf is currently being undertaken. The apparent critical stress-intensity factor (or apparent fracture toughness, K{Q}) for crack propagation has been measured using a three-point bend method for inducing crack growth perpendicular to the axis of cylindrical ice-core specimens. Tensile crack nucleation under applied uniaxial compressive stress has also been evaluated. Both methods have allowed a profile of ice elastic and fracture properties with depth through the ice shelf to be constructed. The resistance to fracture, as measured by changes in apparent fracture toughness and crack-nucleation stress, increases with depth right through the firn and meteoric ice layers. A simple fracture mechanics model applied to the Ronne Ice Shelf indicates that crevasses form from small surface cracks, less than 40 cm deep, which quickly grow.

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