Hydrofractures: How Meltwater Impacts Ice Sheets and Ice

The School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Presents Dr. Ching-Yao Lai, Columbia University

Hydrofractures: How Meltwater Impacts Ice Sheets and Ice 

The interplay between fluid flows and fractures is ubiquitous in Nature and technology, from hydraulic fracturing in the shale formation to superglacial lake drainage in Greenland and hydrofracture on Antarctic ice shelves. 

In this talk I will discuss the above three examples, focusing on the scaling laws and their agreement with lab experiments and field observations. As climate warms, the meltwater on Antarctic ice shelves could threaten their structural integrity through propagation of water-driven fractures. We used a combination of machine learning and fracture mechanics to understand the stability of fractures on ice shelves. 

Out result also indicates that as meltwater inundates the surface of ice shelves in a warm climate, their collapse driven by hydrofracture could significantly influence the flow of the Antarctic Ice Sheets.  

Event Details


  • Thursday, February 6, 2020 - 10:50am to 11:45am

Ford Environmental, Science & Technology (ES&T) Building, Rm. L1205, 10:50am


For More Information Contact

Dr. Alexander Robel