Scientific measurements at Wolverine Glacier, on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska, began in April 1966. At three long-term sites in the research basin, the measurements included snow depth, snow density, heights of the glacier surface and stratigraphic summer surfaces on stakes, and identification of the surface materials. Calculations of the mass balance of the surface strata-snow, new firn, superimposed ice, and old firn and ice mass at each site were based on these measurements. Calculations of fixed-date annual mass balances for each hydrologic year (October 1 to September 30), as well as net balances and the dates of minimum net balance measured between time-transgressive summer surfaces on the glacier, were made on the basis of the strata balances augmented by air temperature and precipitation recorded in the basin. From 1966 through 1995, the average annual balance at site A (590 meters altitude) was -4.06 meters water equivalent; at site B (1,070 meters altitude), was -0.90 meters water equivalent; and at site C (1,290 meters altitude), was +1.45 meters water equivalent.
Geodetic determination of displacements of the mass balance stake, and glacier surface altitudes was added to the data set in 1975 to detect the glacier motion responses to variable climate and mass balance conditions. The average surface speed from 1975 to 1996 was 50.0 meters per year at site A, 83.7 meters per year at site B, and 37.2 meters per year at site C. The average surface altitudes were 594 meters at site A, 1,069 meters at site B, and 1,293 meters at site C; the glacier surface altitudes rose and fell over a range of 19.4 meters at site A, 14.1 meters at site B, and 13.2 meters at site C.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
A 30-year record of surface mass balance (1966-95) and motion and surface altitude (1975-95) at Wolverine Glacier, Alaska