Glacial hydraulic tremor on Rhonegletscher, Switzerland

Elisabeth Clyne, Richard B. Alley, Margot Vore, Dominik Gräff, Sridhar Anandakrishnan, Fabian Walter, Amandine Sergeant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Glacial hydraulic tremor (GHT) can be monitored to observe changes in location and distribution of water flow beneath glacial ice, allowing the spatiotemporal evolution of subglacial hydrology to be studied continuously and remotely. We use frequency-dependent polarization analysis (FDPA) to classify types of GHT and assess its spatio-temporal extent beneath Rhonegletscher, Switzerland, in a continuous seismic record through 2018 and 2019 at three ice-proximal bedrock-based seismometers. We determine the frequency bands composing the GHT and calculate back azimuth angles pointing to a previously known subglacial channel. We also inspect the relationship between GHT seismic power and water discharge from the glacier to compare daily and seasonal shifts with the observed GHT. We observed the seasonal shift from a distributed system to a channelized system, and our dataset allowed comparison of channel locations within and across seasons, with implications for sediment evacuation and bed erosion. The successful use of this method to assess GHT previously on Taku glacier (the methods of which this project follows) and now Rhonegletscher shows that existing ice-proximal passive seismic installations can be used to easily and continuously monitor subglacial hydraulic activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-380
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Glaciology
Issue number274
StatePublished - Apr 17 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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