Surveys in Geophysics

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 185–227

Scaling of Fracture and Faulting of Ice on Earth


  • Jérôme Weiss
    • Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'EnvironnementCNRS

DOI: 10.1023/A:1023293117309

Cite this article as:
Weiss, J. Surveys in Geophysics (2003) 24: 185. doi:10.1023/A:1023293117309


The scaling properties of fracture and faulting of ice on Earth are reviewed.Numerous evidences for the scaling of fracture and faulting of ice are given,including self-affine fracture surfaces, fractal fracture networks at small(laboratory) and large (geophysical) scales, power law distributions of fracturelengths or of fragment sizes within fault gouges. These scaling laws are discussedin terms of the underlying mechanics. Scaling of the observables associated withfracture and faulting argues for the scale invariance of the fracture and faultingprocesses and indicates that small scales cannot be arbitrarily disconnected fromlarge scales. Consequently, quantitative links between scales cannot be performedthrough classical homogenization procedures. Scaling can also induce scale effectson different mechanical parameters such as fracture energy, strength or stiffness.Although scaling is ubiquitous for the fracture of ice on Earth, important exceptionsexist such as the nucleation of microcracks or the crevassing of glaciers. Theseexceptions are stressed and discussed.

faultingfractalfracturefragmentationglaciericescale effectscaling propertiessea ice

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003