Sea Ice Fracturing

  • Jérôm Weiss
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Earth Sciences book series (BRIEFSEARTH)


Two very different types of data are reviewed in this chapter: in-situ internal stress measurements in the one hand, and fracture, fault and fragmentation patterns as seen in aerial or satellite images on the other hand. In-situ stress records show that sea ice internal stress states lie within a Coulombic envelope whose shape and the associated internal friction coefficient are very similar to that obtained from brittle compressive failure tests on saline ice in the laboratory. This argues for a brittle rheology of sea ice involving faulting and friction. However, the sea ice shear strength, which can be unambiguously estimated around 30 kPa, is significantly lower than laboratory measurements, thus implying a scale effect on strength. In-situ stress records are also highly intermittent, either in terms of intensity or principal stress directions. This intermittency cannot be explained by wind forcing characteristics, but is instead the signature of short and transient fracturing/faulting episodes. In the spatial domain, these fracturing events generate scale invariant fracture networks. From these observations, a multiscale statistical model based on the superposition of numerous discrete displacements associated to fracturing/faulting episodes can be built to explain the characteristics of sea ice deformation.


Fracture Network Brittle Deformation Principal Stress Direction Crustal Seismicity Internal Friction Coefficient 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© The Author(s) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Géophysique de l’EnvironnementLaboratoire de Glaciologie etSaint-Martin d’Hères cedexFrance

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