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Effect of extension rate on terminus position, Columbia Glacier, Alaska, U.S.A.

  • E.R. Venteris (a1), I.M. Whillans (a1) and C.J. Van der Veen (a2)

Abstract

The relations between seasonal changes in ice speed, longitudinal extension rate and terminus position are investigated for Columbia Glacier, Alaska, over the period 1977–87. The lower reach of the glacier is studied using repeat aerial photography, which extends from the terminus to the base of an icefall about 14 km up-glacier. There are regular seasonal cycles in speed and stretching rate. These cycles continue after the glacier retreats off the shoal at the end of the fjord (in about 1983), indicating that factors other than backstress, such as seasonal changes in subglacial water, control the speed of the glacier. Terminus position appears to be linked with thinning induced by longitudinal extension, as predicted by the calving model proposed by Van der Veen (1996).

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References

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