Open-pit glacier ice excavation: Brief review

William Colgan, Lukas U. Arenson

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftArtikelForskningpeer review

14 Citationer (Scopus)


The authors have compiled information on the fundamentals of open-pit glacier ice excavation from a variety of sources. These sources primarily include U.S. Army technical and scientific studies and peer-reviewed research on glacier ice-excavation activities and the properties and mechanical behavior of ice, but also the relatively few publicly available feasibility studies and environmental impact assessments published by private mining companies. While ice is technically a non-Newtonian fluid over long timescales, the authors suggest that it may be regarded as a low-density and low-strength rock, analogous to coal, for the practical purpose of ice excavation over short timescales. Three distinct ice-excavation techniques are reviewed: blasting, melting, and mechanical excavation, providing a case study of each. The authors summarize the unique advantages and disadvantages of each technique and conclude that an optimal open-ice-pit mining operation would most likely rely primarily on mechanical excavation and secondarily on blasting.

Sider (fra-til)223-243
Antal sider21
TidsskriftJournal of Cold Regions Engineering - ASCE
Udgave nummer4
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2013


  • Programområde 5: Natur og klima


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