5 July, 2000

July 5, 2000

The lake is back to a 3 feet per day rise rate. The slow in the filling rate observed yesterday was only temporary. After spending the first three days on the glacier placing stakes, surveyor Dennis Trabant left our camp on the glacier for his surveying post on the bluff overlooking the glacier. St. Olaf undergraduate Andrew Malm has run a number of ice radar transects, mapping the bed of the glacier. PSU graduate student Michelle Cunico placed the time lapse camera on the bluff overlooking the glacier and lake yesterday. She and PI Joe Walder have placed a number of pressure transducers, conductivity sensors, temperature probes, and turbidity meters in the lake. U.C. Santa Cruz geomorphologist Bob Anderson and grad student Erin Kraal have placed a stream gauge in Hidden Creek to measure the discharge of water into the lake. They are back at the snout of the glacier with Suzanne Anderson and U.C. Santa Cruz grad student Sharon Longacre measuring the stream discharge of the Kennicott River. The Santa Cruz team has also sampled water from Hidden Creek (flowing into the lake), and continues to sample from the Kennicott River. As you can see, data collection is in full swing - and lots of it is being gathered.

Those of us working at the drill site are camped on the glacier. Last year we camped off to the side of the glacier on solid ground. Being on the glacier around the clock has been a remarkable experience. When viewed from afar, glaciers appear to be a motionless blob of ice. This is far from the case. I have come to appreciate the extent to which a glacier is a living, breathing, dynamic material that is responding to a number of natural conditions that present themselves. Throughout their lower reaches (where we are), glaciers ablate - they actively lose mass via melting and sublimation. My tent is now resting on a one foot high pedistal if ice. The surrounding ice, which has been exposed to the sun, has melted a foot in a three-day period. The glacier around us is continuously creaking and groaning. Rocks constantly slide down seracs as their slopes are steepened and their surface area reduced by the melting process. Rivulets of water flowing over the glacier become small streams during the day. Occasionally a large boom will be heard as an iceberg calves off of a larger mass of ice and into the lake. Experiencing a glacier in this manner both inspires awe, and peaks the curiosity to want to learn more about how all of the forces that control this environment interact.

Our first camp site on the Kennicott Glacier, our home for the next week or so. Note the rocky debris covering the glacier, as well as the seracs (ridges), as well as the crevasse to the right. This portion of the glacier is close to the lake and is very active - lots of fracturing.

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