The seabed disturbance in Arctic regions comes predominently through horizontal cutting mechanisms induced by natural processes such as iceberg scour. The zone of soil being disturbed by the iceberg and the soil resistance to the object movement is of interest to the geotechnical engineer. The influence of the iceberg on potential movement of the pipeline buried in the seabed has been of concern recently with recovery of the oil and gas assets situated in Arctic region.

Despite the significant developments in recent years in numerical modelling the ice gouging process still remains a challenge and further work is required to obtain a fully calibrated and validated numerical model. This paper therefore aims at developing a validated numerical model of the interaction between the iceberg and seabed through a series of laboratory tests undertaken at the University of Aberdeen.

This paper reports on a preliminary study focusing primarily on the comparison between laboratory and finite element (FE) modelling of the interaction between an iceberg and the seabed in terms of drag force and disturbance of the sediment. The FE model and experimental rig are described. The effect of the shape of the iceberg and the depth at which it penetrates has been investigated. Outputs of drag force from FE calculations showed a good agreement with the results obtained from the laboratory model giving the confidence to move to the next stage where both the inclusion of a pipeline segment and sand with different densities will be considered.

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