During a period of diurnal fluctuations in glacial flow speed, vertical strain was measured with sub-daily temporal resolution on Unteraargletscher, Switzerland. Mean vertical strain in boreholes up to 300-m deep in 400-m-thick ice was found to fluctuate diurnally. Vertical strain rates were tensile in the daytime and compressive at night, with a magnitude of up to 10-3 day-1. Horizontal surface strain was observed to fluctuate in a manner consistent with the vertical deformation. Diurnal surface flow speed variations correlated well with basal water pressure suggesting a basal control on temporal flow variations. Nevertheless, the strain rate measurements indicated that changes in surface flow speed are affected by internal ice deformation and not a direct measure of local basal motion. Basal conditions in the surrounding neighborhood and their temporal variations take an important role in short-term glacial flow fluctuations.