Saturday, May 21, 2016

Surging glaciers everywhere

The glaciers in the Kluane National Park, right across the border from Alaska are particularly active this year and we have been able to observe several of them. Glacier surges are spectacular. When they occur the glacier can move at up to one hundred times its normal speed and in the process most of the glacier surface becomes extremely crevassed and distorted beyond recognition. Below are some pictures. Unfortunately, they didn't turn out very sharp through the airplane windows.

The Steel Glacier is undergoing the most vigorous surge:

On the upper glacier, the ice surface has dropped be several tens of meters, leaving behind a "bathtub ring" of stranded ice.

The fast flow creates very crevassed shear margins

The Walsh Glacier is also surging. I think it's in its third year of surging now, but this is by far the most active I've seen it:

And finally a picture of Fisher Glacier. This surge might be done; it reached all the way to the glacier front.

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