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Annals of Glaciology 52(58) 2011 51 Iceberg-capsize tsunamigenesis

Summary: Annals of Glaciology 52(58) 2011 51
Iceberg-capsize tsunamigenesis
Douglas R. MACAYEAL,1 Dorian S. ABBOT,1 Olga V. SERGIENKO2
Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, 5734 South Ellis Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60637, USA
E-mail: drm7@uchicago.edu
Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program, Princeton University, 201 Forrestal Road,
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
ABSTRACT. Calving from the floating termini of outlet glaciers and ice shelves is just the beginning
of an interesting chain of events that can subsequently have important impacts on human life and
property. Immediately after calving, many icebergs capsize (roll over by 90
) due to the instability
of their initial geometry. As icebergs melt and respond to the cumulative effects of ocean swell, they
can also reorient their mass distribution by further capsize and fragmentation. These processes release
gravitational potential energy and can produce impulsive large-amplitude surface-gravity waves known
as tsunamis (a term derived from the Japanese language). Iceberg-capsize tsunamis in Greenland fjords
can be of sufficient amplitude to threaten human life and cause destruction of property in settlements.
Iceberg-capsize tsunamis may also have a role in determining why some ice shelves along the Antarctic


Source: Abbot, Dorian Schuyler - Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago


Collections: Geosciences