Rheology and GIA

Rheology and glacial-isostatic adjustment around Vatnajökull icecap, Iceland: satellite radar interferometry and finite element modeling

Temperatures have been rising significantly over the last decades, inducing increased melting of ice caps around the world. One of the consequences of this melting is the unloading of the Earth’s crust, resulting in glacio-isostatic adjustment (GIA), which has been studied extensively through various geodetic methods. Studies of the GIA around Vatnajökull ice cap (area of 8100 km² and maximum thickness of 900 m), located in the south-eastern part of Iceland, have utilized GPS measurements to quantify the amount of rebound and infer the rheology of the crust.

The project consists in studying the response of the crust to surface unloading (both elastic and viscoelastic responses) using satellite-borne radar interferometry (InSAR). The InSAR data enables the observation of the full extent of the GIA pattern around the ice cap with greater spatial coverage than observed before. We then use these detailed information to infer the Earth structure beneath the ice cap (elastic crust thickness and viscosity) and ice model through finite element modeling.