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6 August, 2000

August 6 , 2000

Matanuska Glacier, Alaska

Things have seemed awful slow lately as weíve had to wait for some dye to get here. In a way that has been really nice because it has allowed me the time to watch Bob Biglís drilling as well as the free time to just hike around. Something that I forgot to mention yesterday in relation to the drilling was the depth of the holes that were bored. Since these holes were bored really close to the stream that drains the glacier I was shocked to find that the ice in this area is 17 to 20 meters thick. What is so surprising to me is that it must extend to depths well below the bottom of the stream itself. I just find it odd that a bed of gravel and sediment at the bottom of the stream is probably resting on ice near the terminus.

The water that comes rushing out of the vents, and now these holes, comes to the surface like an Artesian well. One of the holes yesterday was bored on a ridge of ice and the water coming out of it has produced the first glacier waterfall that Iíve seen here. The surface melt water does not run into resistant ice to produce waterfalls. Unlike differences between soft and hard rock, ice is going to melt (or erode) away at the same rate preventing waterfalls from forming. The only place where water actually drops a significant distance is at the moulins. But even there a significant drop only lasts a few days before melting channels make the drops much more shallow.

I had a really nice hike high up on the white ice again yesterday. With just a few days before itís time to leave I have felt this urge to get up there again to explore new areas. Once again I had a wonderful time peeking into huge crevasses and hiking the ridge lines. I was very surprised to find some moose droppings on one of the highest ridges. I canít figure out why a moose would venture up there much less how they manage to get there without crampons! It would certainly be an odd encounter to hike over an ice ridge and come across a moose.

We finally got our hands on some dye around mid-day today and we wasted no time getting back to work with another dye test. Weíve changed plans and decided to see what effect the unusual water levels in the moulins would have on our original results. We are sampling from M-1 and Mega Vent once again and adding our dye to the same moulin as in previous tests. We retrieved the samples from the ISCOs earlier this evening and will have a look at the samples tomorrow.

Marvin Giesting


Ben Burnett looks into the bore hole as the gray discharge cascades down the sloping ice ridge on the left.


Who would ever expect to see a moose up here?


Ben Burnett and Staci Ensminger join me in taking pictures of the dye-filled moulin.


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