Preferred Crystal Orientations in the Fast Ice Along the Margins of the Arctic Ocean,
COLD REGIONS RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING LAB HANOVER N H
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Field observations of the growth fabrics of the fast and near-fast ice along the coasts of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas show that, at depths of more than 60 cm below the upper ice surface, the sea ice crystals show striking alignments within the horizontal plane. At one site this alignment was well developed at a depth of 15 cm and in all cases the degree of preferred orientation increased with depth, with the strongest orientations occurring at the bottom of the ice sheet. In general the c-axes of the crystals were aligned roughly E-W parallel to the coast. In the vicinity of islands the alignment roughly paralleled the outlines of the islands and in narrow passes between islands the alignment paralleled the channel. Our observations, as well as similar observations made in the Kara Sea by Cherepanov, can be explained if it is assumed that the c-axes of the crystals are aligned parallel to the long-term current direction at the sea icesea water interface. The alignments are believed to be the result of geometric selection among the growing crystals, with the most favored orientation being that in which the current flows normal to the 0001 plates of ice that make up the dendritic icewater interface characteristics of sea ice. It is hypothesized that current flow in this direction reduces the thickness of the solute boundary layer as well as the salinity in the liquid at the interface. This lowered salinity allows crystals in the favored orientation to extend farther into the melt than neighboring crystals with less favored orientations. In addition the current tends to induce a continuous flux of supercooled seawater against the sides of the crystals that extend ahead of the interface.
- Snow, Ice and Permafrost