RESEARCH PAPERS: Arctic Engineering

Iceberg/Seabed Interaction Events Observed During the DIGS Experiment

[+] Author and Article Information
J. H. Lever, D. W. Bass

Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

C. F. M. Lewis

Geological Survey of Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

K. Klein, D. Diemand

Centre for Cold Oceans Resources Engineering, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

M. Dyke

Geonautics, Ltd., St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng 113(1), 74-87 (Feb 01, 1991) (14 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2919901 History: Received June 09, 1989; Revised October 24, 1989


The Dynamics of Iceberg Grounding and Scouring (DIGS) experiment was conducted in the Labrador Sea during August 1985. The objectives of the experiment were to obtain full-scale data sets documenting iceberg/seabed interactions, and to obtain by direct observation new information regarding the processes of iceberg scour formation and degradation. Utilizing a vessel and a helicopter, measurements were made of icebergs’ above and below-water shapes, plus local winds, waves, currents and tides. Special self-contained motion monitoring packages were deployed by helicopter on icebergs thought to be good grounding candidates. Seabed observations were made directly using the submersible Pisces IV , and extensive side-scan sonar data were collected. This paper describes two dynamic iceberg/seabed interaction events documented during DIGS: the roll/pitting behavior of the 1.2-million-ton domed iceberg “Bertha,” and the split/grounding behavior of the 7.7-million-ton tabular iceberg “Gladys.” This latter event is particularly interesting due to its very energetic nature, and the fact that it represents the only full-scale observation of any iceberg impact with sufficient documentation to yield estimates of the interaction forces. Subsequent to the experiment, the recorded above and below-water shapes were used to obtain hydrostatic stability maps for these icebergs. A time stepping procedure was also developed to re-create these two dynamic events, and comparisons between the observed and simulated motions are provided in this paper.

Copyright © 1991 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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