Estimating rates of basal motion and internal ice deformation from continuous tilt measurements

G. Hilmar Gudmundsson*, Andreas Bauder, Martin Lüthi, Urs H. Fischer, Martin Funk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Over a two-year period, continuous measurements of temporal changes in tilt, conducted with a string of tilt meters in a borehole on Unteraargletscher, Bernese Alps, Switzerland, have been used to estimate the basal-motion component. This estimation is based on a comparison of the measurements with synthetic tilt curves, computed using a parameterization of a simplified flow field. The best agreement is found for a ratio of basal motion to forward motion due to ice deformation (slip ratio) equal to about 1.2. Measured tilt curves exhibit a number of different transient features. While an overall increase in tilt angle is observed at every tilt-meter location, two of the sensors recorded anomalous tilt behaviour. These anomalies are characterized by sudden and drastic variations in tilt. A particularly intriguing example of such short-term tilt variations was recorded with a tilt meter positioned 40 m above the bed during the 1997 summer melt season.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-252
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Glaciology
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


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