Near-Surface Environmentally Forced Changes in the Ross Ice Shelf Observed With Ambient Seismic Noise

J. Chaput, R. C. Aster, D. McGrath, M. Baker, R. E. Anthony, P. Gerstoft, P. Bromirski, A. Nyblade, R. A. Stephen, D. A. Wiens, S. B. Das, L. A. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Continuous seismic observations across the Ross Ice Shelf reveal ubiquitous ambient resonances at frequencies >5 Hz. These firn-trapped surface wave signals arise through wind and snow bedform interactions coupled with very low velocity structures. Progressive and long-term spectral changes are associated with surface snow redistribution by wind and with a January 2016 regional melt event. Modeling demonstrates high spectral sensitivity to near-surface (top several meters) elastic parameters. We propose that spectral peak changes arise from surface snow redistribution in wind events and to velocity drops reflecting snow lattice weakening near 0°C for the melt event. Percolation-related refrozen layers and layer thinning may also contribute to long-term spectral changes after the melt event. Single-station observations are inverted for elastic structure for multiple stations across the ice shelf. High-frequency ambient noise seismology presents opportunities for continuous assessment of near-surface ice shelf or other firn environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11,187-11,196
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 28 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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