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Quiescent-phase evolution of a surge-type glacier: Black Rapids Glacier, Alaska, U.S.A.

Journal of Glaciology

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, , , and

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Abstract

Black Rapids Glacier, a surge-type glacier in the Alaska Range, most recently surged in 1936-37 and is currently in its quiescent phase. Mass balance, ice velocity and thickness change have been measured at three to ten sites from 1972 to 1994. The annual speed has undergone cyclical fluctuations of as much as 45% about the mean speed. Ice thickness and surface slope did not change enough to cause the speed fluctuations through changes in ice deformation, which indicates that they are being driven by changes in basal motion. The behavior of Black Rapids Glacier during this quiescent phase is significantly different from that of Variegated Glacier, another well-studied surge-type glacier in Alaska. The present medial-moraine configuration of Black Rapids Glacier indicates that a surge could occur at any time. However, ice velocity data indicate that the next surge may not be imminent. We believe that there is little chance that the next surge will cross and dam the Delta River.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Quiescent-phase evolution of a surge-type glacier: Black Rapids Glacier, Alaska, U.S.A.
Series title:
Journal of Glaciology
Volume
42
Issue:
140
Year Published:
1996
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Glaciology
First page:
110
Last page:
122