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Effects of the 1966–68 Eruptions of Mount Redoubt on the Flow of Drift Glacier, Alaska, U.S.A.

  • Matthew Sturm (a1), Carl Benson (a1) and Peter MacKeith (a1)

Abstract

Mount Redoubt, a volcano located west of Cook Inlet in Alaska, erupted from 1966 to 1968. This eruptive cycle removed about 6 × 107 m3 of glacier ice from the upper part of Drift Glacier and decoupled it from the lower part during a sequence of jökulhlaups which originated in the Summit Crater and flooded Drift River. The same events blanketed the lower part of the glacier with sand and ash, reducing ice ablation. Normal snowfall, augmented by intense avalanching, regenerated the upper part of the glacier by 1976, 8 years after the eruptions. When the regenerated glacier connected with the rest of Drift Glacier, it triggered a kinematic wave of thickening ice accompanied by accelerating surface velocities in the lower part of the glacier. Surface velocities increased by an order of magnitude and were accompanied by thickening of 70 m or more. At the same time, parts of the upper glacier thinned 70 m. The glacier appears to be returning to its pre-eruption equilibrium condition.

Résumé

Le Mount Redoubt, volcan situé à l’ouest de la Cook Bay en Alaska, fit éruption de 1966 à 1968. Ce cycle éruptif déblaya environ 6 × 107 m3 de glace sur la partie supérieure du Drift Glacier et le sépara de sa langue au cours d’une séquence de jôkulhlaups qui venaient du Summit Crater et causèrent les crues de la Drift River. Les mêmes événements recouvrirent la partie basse du glacier de sables et cendres, ce qui a diminué l’ablation. Les habituelles chutes de neige, accrues de nombreuses avalanches, régénérèrent la partie supérieure du glacier à partir de 1976, 8 ans après l’éruption. Lorsque le glacier régénéré fit sa jonction avec le reste du glacier, cela déclancha une onde cinématique par épaississement du glacier et accélération des vitesses de surface dans la partie inférieure. Les vitesses superficielles s’accrurent d’un ordre de grandeur et se sont accompagnées d’un épaississement de 70 m ou plus. En même temps la partie supérieure s’abaissa de 70 m. Le glacier semble être en train de retrouver ses conditions d’équilibre pré-éruptif.

Zusammenfassung

Mount Redoubt, ein Vulkan westlich des Cook Inlet in Alaska, brach in den Jahren 1966 bis 1968 aus. Dieser Eruptionszyklus beseitigte etwa 6 × 107 m3 Gletschereis vom oberen Teil des Drift Glacier und trennte diesen vom unteren Teil während einer Folge von Gletscherläufen, die im Gipfelkrater ihren Ausgang nahmen und den Drift River überfluteten. Dieselben Ereignisse verhüllten den unteren Teil des Gletschers mit Sand und Asche, was zur Abnahme der Ablation führte. Normaler Schneefall, verstärkt durch heftige Lawinenabgänge, regenerierte den oberen Gletscherteil bis 1976, acht Jahre nach den Ausbrüchen. Als der regenerierte Gletscher sich mit dem Rest des Drift Glacier verband, löste er eine kinematische Welle von Eisdickenzunahme aus, verbunden mit einer Erhöhung der Oberflächengerschwindigkeit auf dem unteren Gletscherteil. Die Oberflächengeschwindigkeiten nahmen um eine Grössenordnung zu und waren von einer Aufhöhung um 70 m und mehr begleitet. Gleichzeitig sanken Teile des oberen Gletschers um 70 m ab. Der Gletscher scheint zu seinem Gleichgewichtszustand vor der Eruption zurückzukehren.

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Journal of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0022-1430
  • EISSN: 1727-5652
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