Aster Richard C.

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Richard C.

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  • Article
    Near-surface environmentally forced changes in the Ross Ice Shelf observed with ambient seismic noise
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-10-16) Chaput, Julien ; Aster, Richard C. ; McGrath, Daniel ; Baker, Michael G. ; Anthony, Robert E. ; Gerstoft, Peter ; Bromirski, Peter D. ; Nyblade, Andrew A. ; Stephen, Ralph A. ; Wiens, Douglas A. ; Das, Sarah B. ; Stevens, Laura A.
    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.
  • Article
    Ocean-excited plate waves in the Ross and Pine Island Glacier ice shelves
    (Cambridge University Press, 2018-09-12) Chen, Zhao ; Bromirski, Peter D. ; Gerstoft, Peter ; Stephen, Ralph A. ; Wiens, Douglas A. ; Aster, Richard C. ; Nyblade, Andrew A.
    Ice shelves play an important role in buttressing land ice from reaching the sea, thus restraining the rate of grounded ice loss. Long-period gravity-wave impacts excite vibrations in ice shelves that can expand pre-existing fractures and trigger iceberg calving. To investigate the spatial amplitude variability and propagation characteristics of these vibrations, a 34-station broadband seismic array was deployed on the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) from November 2014 to November 2016. Two types of ice-shelf plate waves were identified with beamforming: flexural-gravity waves and extensional Lamb waves. Below 20 mHz, flexural-gravity waves dominate coherent signals across the array and propagate landward from the ice front at close to shallow-water gravity-wave speeds (~70 m s−1). In the 20–100 mHz band, extensional Lamb waves dominate and propagate at phase speeds ~3 km s−1. Flexural-gravity and extensional Lamb waves were also observed by a 5-station broadband seismic array deployed on the Pine Island Glacier (PIG) ice shelf from January 2012 to December 2013, with flexural wave energy, also detected at the PIG in the 20–100 mHz band. Considering the ubiquitous presence of storm activity in the Southern Ocean and the similar observations at both the RIS and the PIG ice shelves, it is likely that most, if not all, West Antarctic ice shelves are subjected to similar gravity-wave excitation.
  • Article
    The crust and upper mantle structure of central and West Antarctica from Bayesian inversion of Rayleigh Wave and receiver functions
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-09-22) Shen, Weisen ; Wiens, Douglas A. ; Anandakrishnan, Sridhar ; Aster, Richard C. ; Gerstoft, Peter ; Bromirski, Peter D. ; Hansen, Samantha E. ; Dalziel, Ian W. D. ; Heeszel, David S. ; Huerta, Audrey D. ; Nyblade, Andrew A. ; Stephen, Ralph A. ; Wilson, Terry J. ; Winberry, J. Paul
    We construct a new seismic model for central and West Antarctica by jointly inverting Rayleigh wave phase and group velocities along with P wave receiver functions. Ambient noise tomography exploiting data from more than 200 seismic stations deployed over the past 18 years is used to construct Rayleigh wave phase and group velocity dispersion maps. Comparison between the ambient noise phase velocity maps with those constructed using teleseismic earthquakes confirms the accuracy of both results. These maps, together with P receiver function waveforms, are used to construct a new 3‐D shear velocity (Vs) model for the crust and uppermost mantle using a Bayesian Monte Carlo algorithm. The new 3‐D seismic model shows the dichotomy of the tectonically active West Antarctica (WANT) and the stable and ancient East Antarctica (EANT). In WANT, the model exhibits a slow uppermost mantle along the Transantarctic Mountains (TAMs) front, interpreted as the thermal effect from Cenozoic rifting. Beneath the southern TAMs, the slow uppermost mantle extends horizontally beneath the traditionally recognized EANT, hypothesized to be associated with lithospheric delamination. Thin crust and lithosphere observed along the Amundsen Sea coast and extending into the interior suggest involvement of these areas in Cenozoic rifting. EANT, with its relatively thick and cold crust and lithosphere marked by high Vs, displays a slower Vs anomaly beneath the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains in the uppermost mantle, which we hypothesize may be the signature of a compositionally anomalous body, perhaps remnant from a continental collision.
  • Article
    Tsunami and infragravity waves impacting Antarctic ice shelves
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-07-20) Bromirski, Peter D. ; Chen, Zhao ; Stephen, Ralph A. ; Gerstoft, Peter ; Arcas, Diego R. ; Diez, Anja ; Aster, Richard C. ; Wiens, Douglas A. ; Nyblade, Andrew A.
    The responses of the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) to the 16 September 2015 8.3 (Mw) Chilean earthquake tsunami (>75 s period) and to oceanic infragravity (IG) waves (50–300 s period) were recorded by a broadband seismic array deployed on the RIS from November 2014 to November 2016. Here we show that tsunami and IG-generated signals within the RIS propagate at gravity wave speeds (∼70 m/s) as water-ice coupled flexural-gravity waves. IG band signals show measureable attenuation away from the shelf front. The response of the RIS to Chilean tsunami arrivals is compared with modeled tsunami forcing to assess ice shelf flexural-gravity wave excitation by very long period (VLP; >300 s) gravity waves. Displacements across the RIS are affected by gravity wave incident direction, bathymetry under and north of the shelf, and water layer and ice shelf thicknesses. Horizontal displacements are typically about 10 times larger than vertical displacements, producing dynamical extensional motions that may facilitate expansion of existing fractures. VLP excitation is continuously observed throughout the year, with horizontal displacements highest during the austral winter with amplitudes exceeding 20 cm. Because VLP flexural-gravity waves exhibit no discernable attenuation, this energy must propagate to the grounding zone. Both IG and VLP band flexural-gravity waves excite mechanical perturbations of the RIS that likely promote tabular iceberg calving, consequently affecting ice shelf evolution. Understanding these ocean-excited mechanical interactions is important to determine their effect on ice shelf stability to reduce uncertainty in the magnitude and rate of global sea level rise.