South Cascade Glacier, Washington, U.S.A., is one of the most extensively studied glaciers in the Western Hemisphere. In addition to mass-balance measurements, which date to 1958, numerous hydrological investigations have been carried out during the last three decades, and repeated ice-thickness determinations have been made using a variety of techniques. In the late 1960s, the basal topography was initially determined by gravitimetric methods. In the mid-1970s some of the first depth measurements using radar on temperate ice were made. The basal topography was remapped soon after from a series of point radar measurements and boreholes drilled to the glacier bottom. During the 1990s, the ice thickness was remapped using digital recording of continuous profiles that obtained over 5000 ice-thickness measurements. Profiles have been corrected for the finite beamwidth of the antenna radiation pattern and reflections in steep terrain, resulting in a significantly improved depiction of the basal surface and internal structures. The map based on our recent radar profiles confirms the large-scale features of the basal topography previously depicted and reveals more structural detail. A bright reflector was detected at the base of the glacier and could be traced in adjacent profiles. Comparison with results from water-level measurements in boreholes drilled to the bed indicates that the reflector is a subglacial conduit.
Additional publication details
Advances in ice radar studies of a temperate alpine glacier, South Cascade Glacier, Washington, U.S.A.