On the Birth of Structural and Crystallographic Fabric Signals in Polar Snow: A Case Study From the EastGRIP Snowpack

Montagnat, Maurine ; Lwe, Henning ; Calonne, Neige ; Schneebeli, Martin ; Matzl, Margret ; Jaggi, Matthias

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<p align=justify>The role of near-surface snow processes for the formation of climate signals through densification into deep polar firn is still barely understood. To this end we have analyzed a shallow snow pit (0-3 meters) from EastGRIP (Greenland) and derived high-resolution profiles of different types of mechanically relevant fabric tensors. The structural fabric, which characterizes the anisotropic geometry of ice matrix and pore space, was obtained by X-ray tomography. The crystallographic fabric, which characterizes the anisotropic distribution of the c-axis (or optical axis) orientations of snow crystals, was obtained from automatic analysis of thin sections. The structural fabric profile unambiguously reveals the seasonal cycles at EastGRIP, as a consequence of temperature gradient metamorphism, and in contrast to featureless signals of parameters like density or specific surface area. The crystallographic fabric profile unambiguously reveals a signal of cluster-type texture already at shallow depth. We make use of order of magnitude estimates for the formation time of both fabric signals and discuss potential coupling effects in the context of snow and firn densification.</p>
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