Sunday, July 29, 2012

Black Rapids in summer

In all my years in Alaska I've spent about half a year on Black Rapids Glacier, but never in summer! So it was a new thing for me to be camped there on ice. We had a very quick trip, just two days to check in on all our instruments.

Since we've installed GPS stations in April, all the snow and quite a bit of ice has melted. The antennas that were originally at the surface were now sticking up by almost 3 m. We put them near the surface again, so they would be more stable.

Black Rapids was exposed to several really large landslides during the Denali Fault earthquake of 2002. The debris protects the glacier from melting, so every year, the rock covered ice stands out more, as the uncovered ice continues to melt. This also leads to the formation of lakes that occasionally drain.

One of the goals of this project is to measure how lake drainages affect the flow of the glacier, particularly in the area where the two main tributaries meet. Below is a timelapse sequence of the slow filling and rapid drainage of one ice marginal lake.

McCarthy summer school

Darn, just accidentally deleted this post. I'll try to recreate from the last saved draft...

The pictures are from the 2nd UAF International Summer School in Glaciology held in McCarthy in June. During that time I also had a chance to do some airborne radio echo sounding on the Harding Icefield.

Old surge moraines: Black Rapids Glacier

The beautiful Wrangell volcanoes

Hiking near Kennicott: Ed, Regine, Sonja

McCarthy: The Mekka of rock glaciers

Sonja on the Root Glacier

Ultima Thule Lodge. Lodge owner Paul Claus does a lot of our glacier flying

Prince William Sound: On the way to the Harding Icefield

Harding Icefield on the Kenai Peninsula


The old Hardware Store: our classroom

Summer school participants were camping

Some old mining buildings in McCarthy

Sonja: the youngest summer school participant