## Abstract

This paper is an attempt at a mathematical synopsis of the theory of wave motions on glaciers. These comprise surface waves (analogous to water waves) and seasonal waves (more like compression waves). Surface waves have been often treated and are well understood, but seasonal waves, while observed, do not seem to have attracted any theoretical explanation. Additionally, the spectacular phenomenon of glacier surges, while apparently a dynamic phenomenon, has not been satisfactorily explained. The present thesis is that the two wave motions (and probably also surging, though a discussion of this is not developed here) can both be derived from a rational theory based on conservation laws of mass and momentum, provided that the basal kinematic boundary condition involving boundary slip is taken to have a certain reasonable form. It is the opinion of this author that the form of this ‘sliding law’ is the crux of the difference between seasonal and surface waves, and that a further understanding of these motions must be based on a more satisfactory analysis of basal sliding. Since ice is here treated in the context of a slow, shallow, non-Newtonian fluid flow, the theory that emerges is that of non-Newtonian viscous shallow-water theory; rather than balance inertia terms with gravity in the momentum equation, we balance the shear-stress gradient. The resulting set of equationsis, in essence, a first-order nonlinear hyperbolic (kinematic) wave equation, and susceptible to various kinds of analysis. We show how both surface and seasonal waves are naturally described by such a model when the basal boundary condition is appropriately specified. Shocks can naturally occur, and we identify the (small) diffusive parameters that are present, and give the shock structure: in so doing, we gain a useful understanding of the effects of surface slope and longitudinal stress in these waves.

Original language | English |
---|---|

Pages (from-to) | 283-321 |

Number of pages | 39 |

Journal | Journal of Fluid Mechanics |

Volume | 120 |

Issue number | 6 |

DOIs | |

Publication status | Published - Jul 1982 |

Externally published | Yes |