We present a new, 3-D model of seismic velocity and anisotropy in the Pacific upper mantle, PAC13E. We invert a data set of single-station surface-wave phase-anomaly measurements sensitive only to Pacific structure for the full set of 13 anisotropic parameters that describe surface-wave anisotropy. Realistic scaling relationships for surface-wave azimuthal anisotropy are calculated from petrological information about the oceanic upper mantle and are used to help constrain the model. The strong age dependence in the oceanic velocities associated with plate cooling is also used as a priori information to constrain the model. We find strong radial anisotropy with vSH > vSV in the upper mantle; the signal peaks at depths of 100–160 km. We observe an age dependence in the depth of peak anisotropy and the thickness of the anisotropic layer, which both increase with seafloor age, but see little age dependence in the depth to the top of the radially anisotropic layer. We also find strong azimuthal anisotropy, which typically peaks in the asthenosphere. The azimuthal anisotropy at asthenospheric depths aligns better with absolute-plate-motion directions while the anisotropy within the lithosphere aligns better with palaeospreading directions. The relative strengths of radial and azimuthal anisotropy are consistent with A-type olivine fabric. Our findings are generally consistent with an explanation in which corner flow at the ridge leads to the development and freezing-in of anisotropy in the lithosphere, and shear between the lithosphere and underlying asthenosphere leads to anisotropy beneath the plate. We also observe large regions within the Pacific basin where the orientation of anisotropy and the absolute-plate-motion direction differ; this disagreement suggests the presence of shear in the asthenosphere that is not aligned with absolute-plate-motion directions. Azimuthal-anisotropy orientation rotates with depth; the depth of the maximum vertical gradient in the fast-axis orientation tends to be age dependent and agrees well with a thermally controlled lithosphere–asthenosphere boundary. We observe that azimuthal-anisotropy strength at shallow depths depends on half-spreading rate, with higher spreading rates associated with stronger anisotropy. Our model implies that corner flow is more efficient at aligning olivine to form lattice-preferred orientation anisotropy fabrics in the asthenosphere when the spreading rate at the ridge is higher.
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The flow speed of the Greenland Ice Sheet changes dramatically in inland regions when surface meltwater drains to the bed. But ice-sheet discharge to the ocean is dominated by fast-flowing outlet glaciers, where the effect of increasing surface melt on annual discharge is unknown. Observations of a supraglacial lake drainage at Helheim Glacier, and a consequent velocity pulse propagating down-glacier, provide a natural experiment for assessing the impact of changes in injected meltwater, and allow us to interrogate the subglacial hydrological system. We find a highly efficient subglacial drainage system, such that summertime lake drainage has little net effect on ice discharge. Our results question the validity of common remote-sensing approaches for inferring subglacial conditions, knowledge of which is needed for improved projections of sea-level rise.
Many large calving events at Greenland's marine‐terminating glaciers generate globally detectable glacial earthquakes. We perform a cross‐correlation analysis using regional seismic data to identify events below the teleseismic detection threshold, focusing on the 24 hr surrounding known glacial earthquakes at Greenland's three largest glaciers. We detect additional seismic events in the minutes prior to more than half of the glacial earthquakes we study and following one third of them. Waveform modeling shows source mechanisms like those of previously known glacial earthquakes, a result consistent with available imagery. The seismic events thus do not represent a failure of the high subaerial ice cliff like that expected to trigger large‐scale calving and a marine ice‐cliff instability but, rather, rotational, buoyancy‐driven calving events, likely of the full glacier thickness. A limited investigation of the prevalence of smaller seismic events at times outside glacial‐earthquake windows identifies several additional events. However, we find that calving at the three glaciers we study—Jakobshavn Isbræ, Helheim Glacier, and Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier—often occurs as sequences of discrete buoyancy‐driven events in which multiple icebergs ranging in size over as much as three orders of magnitude are all lost within ∼30 min. We demonstrate a correlation between glacial‐earthquake magnitude and iceberg size for events with well‐constrained iceberg‐area estimates. Our results suggest that at least 10–30% more dynamic mass loss occurs through buoyancy‐driven calving at Greenland's glaciers than previously appreciated.