Monday, October 23, 2017

Operation IceBridge Fall campaign

I'm being increasingly lazy about keeping this field blog up to date, but since it is complete over the past few years, I am going to update it. Better late than never!

In the second half of August we flew the Operation IceBridge Alaska mission. This is a NASA sponsored mission with the primary goal of measuring elevation change of many glaciers all over Alaska. I am doing radar surveys to try to measure the location of the bottom of the glacier.

These missions always result in lots of waiting for suitable weather, interrupted by long days when conditions are good. But this August we had a particular sustained stretch of very windy conditions, and we ended up not being able to fly our primary targets. We still got some work done. Below are some impressions.

Unfortunately I had my ISO set to something ridiculously high, which is why this picture appears so grainy. But it is amazing nonetheless: The surging Walsh Glacier destabilized a slope and this led to a clear fracture through a rock glacier, exposing an entire cross section. It nicely shows that much of the inside of a rock glacier actually consists of ice. I think it's even more than what appears here, because debris would have quickly covered some of the ice.

Beautiful fall colors

Kennicott Glacier has been retreating and creating this proglacial lake that rapidly increases in size

The surging Klutlan Glacier

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