Electromagnetic reflections inside ice sheets

Miners, William Dingle (1999). Electromagnetic reflections inside ice sheets. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e284

Abstract

When radio echo sounding polar ice sheets weak stratified reflections are visible deep inside the ice sheets. These reflections are often called internal layers. Previously it has been suggested as a result of glacier flow models that these reflections can be treated as surfaces of equal age. In order for a reflection to be related to a single age feature in an ice sheet a one dimensional wave model must be adequate to model the propagation of a wavelet down to the feature and back to the surface. In this thesis four different one dimensional models are constructed each including different physics. It is shown that for the frequencies of interest to radio echo sounding it is sufficient to use the non-dispersive high frequency values of permittivity and conductivity for the ice in the models.

The models are used on data from two drill sites. The first site is Berkner Island where I constructed an instrument to measure the electrical conductivity of the 181 metre long ice core. The second site is the Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP) site at Summit of length 3028 metres. For both sites permittivity and conductivity profiles inside the ice sheet are calculated and put into the models with an estimate of the transmitted wavelet to produce expected radio echo profiles at the sites. For Berkner despite altering many parameters no match between model result and radar data was obtained. For GRIP a satisfactory match was obtained between model result and radar data.

It is concluded that the weak, specular (plane like), st Ratified reflections at depth can be treated as isochrones. The strong reflections at shallow depths are a result of a combination of spherical reflection surfaces and interference between many closely spaced layers and cannot necessarily be treated as isochrones.

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