Timescale: Oct. 2021 – Sept. 2024
Prof. Eva Eibl, University of Potsdam
Dr. Sigrid Rössner, GFZ Potsdam
Meltwater, rainwater and geothermal fluids accumulate in subglacial or glacier-dammed lakes and drain in hazardous floods, e.g., in Iceland, the Alps, Greenland and the Andes. These floods are recognized as the most common largely distributed hazard to life, property and economy, costing billions of dollars every year. Early warning of these floods is locally achieved using hydrological instruments in the affected glacial rivers that can however only detect a flood that has already progressed from beneath the ice into the river. Early-warning can be improved by using GPS instruments that are deployed on the ice surface on top of some of the lakes, but their maintenance over the years is challenging (Eibl et al., in review).
The project I11 focuses on seismic signals generated during the propagation of subglacial floods that can be recorded from a safe distance outside the glacier. We will process and interpret recordings from seismic arrays and rotational sensors jointly with the observations made by hydrological and GPS data. Pre-existing data from Greenland and Iceland can be used as a starting point. Further datasets will be collected in the European Alps and maybe in the Himalayas in order to address the following objectives:
We expect to be able to track most subglacial floods with seismic instruments even if they propagate beneath the glacier. We will characterise the spatial and temporal evolution of these floods using seismic data in combination with datasets from other disciplines. This will help us to understand the mechanisms that trigger/ drive a flood and will improve the prediction methods, modelling and forecasting techniques.
Dedicated Regional Cluster: Central Europe / European Alps and Himalayas
Related PhD-projects: I4 (first cohort, Georg Veh) and Q8 (second cohort, Melanie Fischer): the project is linked to I4 and Q8 that were devoted to the detection, frequency, and magnitude of glacial outburst floods (GLOFs) in the Himalayas.