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Solid Earth An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
24 Feb 2017
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Solid Earth (SE) and is expected to appear here in due course.
EBSD in Antarctic and Greenland Ice
Ilka Weikusat1, Ernst-Jan N. Kuiper1,2, Gill M. Pennock2, Sepp Kipfstuhl1, and Martyn R. Drury2 1Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Am Alten Hafen 26, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany
2Faculty of Earth Science, Utrecht University, Postbus 80021, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands
Abstract. EBSD provides information for the characterization of subgrain boundary types and dislocation activity during deformation. EBSD microstructure in combination with light microscopy measurements from ice core material from Antarctica (EPICA-DML deep ice core) and Greenland (NEEM deep ice core) are presented and interpreted regarding substructure identification and characterization. Electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) analyses suggest that a large portion of edge dislocations with slip systems basal <a> gliding on the basal plane were involved in forming subgrain boundaries. However, an almost equal number of tilt subgrain boundaries developed, involving dislocations gliding on non basal planes (prism <c> or prism <c+a> slip). A few subgrain boundaries involving prism <a> edge dislocation glide, as well as boundaries involving basal <a> twist dislocations, were also identified. The finding that subgrain boundaries occur, made up of dislocations gliding on non-basal planes, are as frequent as basal plane slip systems, is surprising. These findings are expected to have an impact on the discussion of rate-controlling processes for the ice flow descriptions of large ice masses with respect to sea-level evolution. For subgrain boundaries not related to the crystallography of the host grain alternative formation processes are discussed.

Citation: Weikusat, I., Kuiper, E.-J. N., Pennock, G. M., Kipfstuhl, S., and Drury, M. R.: EBSD in Antarctic and Greenland Ice, Solid Earth Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Ilka Weikusat et al.
Ilka Weikusat et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Understanding the flow of large ice masses on Earth is a major challenge in our changing climate. Deformation mechanisms are governed by the strong anisotropy of ice. As anisotropy currently moves into focus of ice sheet flow studies, we provide a detailed analysis of microstructure data from ice core samples which are directly related to the anisotropic plasticity. Our findings reveal surprising dislocation activity which seems to contradict the concept of macroscopic ice anisotropy.
Understanding the flow of large ice masses on Earth is a major challenge in our changing...