Airborne Radio Echo Sounding (RES) measures on Alpine Glaciers to evaluate ice thickness and bedrock geometry: preliminary results from pilot tests performed in the Ortles Cevedale Group (Italian Alps).

Stefano Urbini, Achille Zirizzotti, James Baskaradas, Ignazio Ezio Tabacco, Lili Cafarella, Antonella Senese, Claudio Smiraglia, Guglielmina Diolaiuti


Radar exploration supports glaciological studies playing several roles in ice exploration such as determining ice thickness and volume, describing ice and snow internal layering and characterizing crevassed areas. The method, widely used with full success on Polar areas, encounters more difficulties when applied to survey mountain glaciers like the Alpine and Himalayan ones. Among them, these difficulties can be addressed to the different physical characteristics of temperate ice and to logistic difficulties related to performing field operations at high elevations on areas where crevasses, seracs and ice-falls are present, making more complicate and complex the glacier surface.

In the framework of the SHARE-PAPRIKA and the SHARE-STELVIO Projects, we performed some preliminary measurements on Careser, Sforzellina and Forni glaciers (Ortles-Cevedale Group, Italy), to evaluate efficiency and applicability of a Radio Echo Sounding (RES) instrument specifically designed, developed and modified by the INGV (Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia) laboratories. This paper reports the results we obtained investigating each glacier, the hampering factors and the cost to benefit ratio introduced by the airborne survey.


Radio Echo Sounding (RES); Airborne measurement; Ice thickness measurement; Italian Alps

Full Text:



We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it (Read more).

Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X