Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Taku Glacier

We just started a new project on the Taku Glacier. The goal is to take a closer look at glacier erosion. This glacier is amazing. In previous work we have found that it can excavate as much as 3 m of sediment per year. That is, the glacier is primarily growing at the bottom, by digging itself into soft sediments. Over the next three years we will take a detailed look at how this works. Last week we used radar and seismics to map the glacier bed. With a detailed seismic survey we hope to also find the depth of the sediments under the ice. Next year we will drill through the glacier to find out how it moves over its substrate.

Here are some pictures from this year's field work:

The Juneau Icefield

View from the camp site: Split Thumb

The tent camp

Alessio working on the seismic line on a windy day

The camp with the ocean in the background. If Taku kept advancing, it would eventually cut off the Taku River and create a huge lake. This has happened in the historic past, but the warming climate is unlikely to sustain the current advance for much longer.

The first days were quite windy with lots of blowing snow

The first wiggles show the return of seismic waves from the glacier bed

Orion on a clear night

At the moment, Taku Glacier is still advancing

Roman inspects the sediment bulges in front of the advancing ice

A tree is no match for advancing ice

Ice advancing over sediment

And the yellow bird that's taking us home again.

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