Ice and Snow: Properties, Processes, and Applications

Ice and Snow: Properties, Processes, and Applications

Ice and Snow: Properties, Processes, and Applications

Ice and Snow: Properties, Processes, and Applications

Excerpt

The unusual characteristics of glaciers, the fascinating forms and variations of snowflakes, and the general availability and importance of ice led to the study of these materials in the early days of systematic natural science. As knowledge of deformation phenomena, dislocation theory, nucleation and crystal growth, solidification and melting, phase equilibria, and thermodynamics progressed, our understanding of glacial phenomena in terms of underlying physics and physical chemistry increased. Thus, at the present time, glaciology is firmly based on scientific phenomenological understanding rather than being merely descriptive.

The utilization of ice and snow has received increasing interest. Communication and transportation developments have made possible with relative ease today field activities that were carried out only with greatest difficulty thirty years ago. Expanded populations and defense needs have led to consideration of engineering problems related to arctic activities. Solidification phenomena, metamorphic processes, and strength characteristics are important for utilitarian needs as well as for their inherent interest to curious scientists.

In recent years, various groups have demonstrated a capability for using ice and snow in new and sophisticated ways. Underground camps have been constructed in the snow and ice of Greenland. Snow roads, parking areas, and aircraft landing fields have been used. Sea ice has been used for aircraft landings and other structural purposes; submarine operations under the arctic sea ice have become commonplace. These engineering developments have in large part resulted from empirical field investigations; many difficulties have had to be overcome with regard to equipment operation at low temperatures and development of techniques for large- scale operations. There has been sufficient promise in these developments that there is a clear need for understanding successes and failures on a sound basis, in order to ensure rapid progress in the future.

Contributions to glaciology have been interdisciplinary from the very beginning. Scientists such as Faraday, Tyndall, and Lord Kelvin, famous for other contributions, were among the earlier investigators of glacial phenomena. At the present time, publications related to ice and snow appear in many different journals, and studies are carried out in many individual laboratories. From the . . .

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