Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chance Discovery: Alaska Range Glacier Surges

Date:
March 17, 2006
Source:
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Summary:
There is evidence that the McGinnis Glacier, a little-known tongue of ice in the central Alaska Range, has surged. Assistant Professor of Physics Martin Truffer recently noticed the lower portion of the glacier was covered in cracks, crevasses, and pinnacles of ice--all telltale signs that the glacier has recently slid forward at higher than normal rates. It has not been determined whether the glacier continues to surge.

On March 13, 2006 glaciologists Martin Truffer and Will Harrison, both of the Geophysical Institute, flew over the McGinnis Glacier. The jagged pinnacles and deep crevasses they witnessed are telltale signs that the glacier has surged.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Martin Truffer, Geophysical Institute, UAF

There is evidence that the McGinnis Glacier, a little-known tongue of ice in the central Alaska Range, has surged. Assistant Professor of Physics Martin Truffer recently noticed the lower portion of the glacier was covered in cracks, crevasses, and pinnacles of ice--all telltale signs that the glacier has recently slid forward at higher than normal rates. It has not been determined whether the glacier continues to surge.

Truffer, of the Geophysical Institute's Snow Ice and Permafrost Group, is having difficulty finding evidence of the glacier's history. He says the glacier hasn't been on anyone's radar screen for some time. Much of what has been written about the glacier is that it was covered with debris after several landslides broke loose from Mount McGinnis after the 2002 Denali Fault earthquake. In fact, that's what prompted Truffer to explore the glacier just a few days ago on a recreational snowmachining trip with friends.

"We were going to look at the landslide area and instead we saw that the entire glacier had surged. It was completely by chance," he said.

In a small aircraft on March 13, Truffer flew over McGinnis Glacier with Professor Emeritus Will Harrison to confirm the signs of the glacier's surge. The glaciologists saw trim lines high up on the glacier and accordion-like crunching at its base. A surge starts high up on a glacier and then propagates in a wave down the length of the glacier. Truffer says surging is unusual, however the Alaska Range is unique in that there are several glaciers located there that experience this. The most well known surging glacier in Alaska is the nearby Black Rapids Glacier, which advanced within a half a mile of the Richardson Highway in 1936.

Truffer says it's unfortunate that little is known about McGinnis Glacier. If the latest discovery could be compared to previous records, the surge could tell scientists much more. In the mean time, the Snow, Ice and Permafrost Group hopes to send a crew to McGinnis Glacier, located about 100 miles south of Fairbanks, to observe the surge and gather data.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alaska Fairbanks. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alaska Fairbanks. "Chance Discovery: Alaska Range Glacier Surges." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060316193118.htm>.
University of Alaska Fairbanks. (2006, March 17). Chance Discovery: Alaska Range Glacier Surges. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060316193118.htm
University of Alaska Fairbanks. "Chance Discovery: Alaska Range Glacier Surges." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060316193118.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Napa Valley Wine Grower Survives Catastrophic California Drought

Napa Valley Wine Grower Survives Catastrophic California Drought

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) Despite a severe drought in California, Mumm Napa's winemaker says this season's crop may be better than average thanks to well-timed spring rains. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Study Says The Moon Was Deformed Early In Its History

New Study Says The Moon Was Deformed Early In Its History

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Scientists say when the moon was young, it was deformed by the Earth's gravitational pull, which gave it a lemon-like shape. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins