Sunday, June 2, 2013

Airborne surveys in Alaska

We spent a wonderful two weeks at Ultima Thule Lodge in the Wrangell St.Elias mountains. Our goal was to do airborne glacier surveys all over Alaska. We run LiDAR surveys to measure how glaciers change over time and radar surveys to measure how thick they are. The program did not start well. Interior Alaska experienced one of the coldest springs ever recorded and the mountain weather was not very conducive to flying. But by the second week it warmed up and the weather finally cleared. Within just a few days I got to see some amazing mountains. Sometimes I think that by now I've seen a lot of the mountains of Alaska, but this trip showed me (again), that there is still so much more to see and do. Below is a selection of somewhat random pictures; I took more pictures on this trip than on any previous field trip ...

The Root Glacier near McCarthy with the stairway ice fall in the background. This is one of the largest ice falls in the world.

Paul Claus's Single Otter

A medial moraine

The beautiful moraines of the Kaskawulsh Glacier in Kluane National Park

Mt. St.Elias, at over 5,400 m one of North America's tallest mountains. In the foreground Malaspina Glacier

The beautiful sand beach by Yakutat and Mt. Fairweather in the background.

The front of Hubbard Glacier, North America's longest tidewater glacier, and one of only a handful of advancing glaciers.

Looking almost 100 km down the Fairweather Fault (the extension of the San Andreas Fault). In the background is Mt. Fairweather.

Hubbard Glacier and Gilbert Point. The healthily advancing glacier is threatening to build an ice dam at this location. It has happened twice already, in 1986 and again in 2002.

The fronts of Logan and Chitina Glaciers

The alien landing site: A glacier sinkhole.

Mt. Logan is a massive mountain. It is just short of 6000 m high, and quite possibly the most massive mountain on Earth.

Hole in the Wall Glacier: This is an overflow of another advancing glacier: Taku Glacier in the Juneau Icefield. This glacier did not even exist 150 years ago!

Taku Glacier

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