Monitoring Icequakes in East Antarctica with the Raspberry Shake

Winter, Kate, Lombardi, Denis, Diaz-Moreno, Alejandro and Bainbridge, Rupert (2021) Monitoring Icequakes in East Antarctica with the Raspberry Shake. Seismological Research Letters, 92 (5). pp. 2736-2747. ISSN 0895-0695

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We evaluate the performance of the low-cost seismic sensor Raspberry Shake (RS) to identify and monitor icequakes (which occur when glacial ice experiences brittle deformation) in extreme environments. In January 2020, three RS3D sensors were installed on a katabatic wind-scoured blue ice area (BIA) close to the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica research station in Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica. The sensors were configured for Antarctic deployment and placed in insulated enclosures to protect them from harsh weather systems. The RS network (installed in a triangular array) performed well in the cold and with rapid air temperature change, as diurnal temperatures fluctuated from a high of 0.0°C to a minimum temperature of −15.0°C. Although battery connectivity issues in one unit limit full triangulation of seismic signals, and high background noise may mask some seismic signals, data from the RS2 unit reveals that 2936 icequakes were detected over a 10-day period. The temporal occurrence of these icequakes, combined with satellite-derived surface temperature measurements and automatic weather station data, suggest that diurnal fluctuations in solar radiation control ice surface temperature changes, driving thermal contraction of the ice. Seismic investigations like these can therefore provide information on the thermal state and ice fracture mechanics of ablation zones such as BIAs. Our work highlights the potential application of the RS (after minimal modification) in glaciated environments where equipment often needs to be portable, temporary and lightweight, and able to perform in extreme weather conditions.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: Antarctic fieldwork was funded by the Baillet Latour Antarctica Fellowship, awarded to Kate Winter in October 2018. The three RS3D sensors were purchased through Northumbria University’s Extreme Environments research grant. Staff from the International Polar Foundation at the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica (PEA) research station are thanked for their assistance with the research project and their help to maintain the broadband (BB) seismic station—ELIS. The authors are grateful for the air temperature data provided to them by Konrad Steffen at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research. Konrad Steffen strove to collect meteorological data in the most remote places on Earth during his esteemed research career. The glaciology community acknowledges him for his considerable contribution to Science in polar and alpine regions. The authors thank Thierry Camelbeeck and Thomas Lecocq (Royal Observatory of Belgium [ROB]) for access to the BB seismic data (who in turn acknowledge the financial support of ELIS through Belgian Science Policy Contracts EA/33/2A and EA/33/2B), Maxime Bès de Berc (Institut de physique du globe de Strasbourg [IPGS]) and Robert Anthony (U.S. Geological Survey [USGS]) for the Raspberry Shake (RS) self-noise information, and the RS team for their assistance and encouragement. The authors are grateful for the constant development of the following software packages used in this study: GISMO Seismic Analysis Toolbox (Reyes and West, 2011; Thompson and Reyes, 2018), Matplotlib (Hunter, 2007), Python (, and ObsPy (Beyreuther et al., 2010), and the authors thank the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA]/USGS for the acquisition and free distribution of Landsat 8 images and Quinten Vanhellemont (RBINS) for assistance with ACOLITE. The authors also wish to extend gratitude to Myrto Pirli (Guest Editor) and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful and constructive comments.
Uncontrolled Keywords: seismology, seismic sensor, blue ice, ice temperature, ice fracture, Antarctica, glaciology
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2021 13:17
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2022 03:32

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