Complex force history of a calving-generated glacial earthquake derived from broadband seismic inversion



The force applied to the Earth by the calving of two icebergs at Jakobshavn Isbrae, Greenland, has been quantified. The source force history was recovered by inversion of regional broadband seismograms without any a priori constraint on the source time function, in contrast with previous studies. For periods 10–100 s, the three-component force can be obtained from distant stations alone and is proportional to the closest station seismograms. This inversion makes it possible to quantify changes of the source force direction and amplitude as a function of time and frequency. A detailed comparison with a video of the event was used to identify four forces associated with collision, then bottom-out and top-out rotation of the first and second icebergs, and ice mélange motion. Only the two iceberg rotations were identified in previous studies. All four processes are found here to contribute to the force amplitude and variability. Such a complete time-frequency force history provides unique dynamical constraints for mechanical calving models.