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Estimates of Peak Discharge from the Drainage of Ice-Dammed Ape Lake, British Columbia, Canada

  • Joseph R. Desloges (a1), David P. Jones (a1) and Karl E. Ricker (a2)

Abstract

The first known occurrence of outburst flooding at Ape Lake, British Columbia, was in October 1984 following the formation of a subglacial tunnel in an ice dam created by Fyles Glacier. Following tunnel closure, the lake refilled in 150 d and then a second outburst flood occurred in August 1986. During both events, 55% of the Apc Lake volume or 46 × 106 m3 was released in less than 24 h into the 50 km long, ungauged Noeick River, producing an average discharge of 540 m3 s−1. Channel and flood-plain erosion, damage to access roads, bridges, a logging camp, and an airstrip were related to the peak or maximum instantaneous discharge. In the absence of direct measurements, and to facilitate planning for future flood events, several independent methods were employed to estimate peak discharge. A modified version of the Clague-Mathews formula and the slope-area method yield consistent estimates which approach 1600 m3 s−1 near the ice-dam outlet. Attenuation of the flood peak in Noeick River is as high as 25% in the upper 12 km due to channel and flood-plain storage. Results using Clarke’s (1982) physical-based model suggest lower discharges and may be related to the irregular morphology of Ape Lake. Since Fyles Glacier is in continuous retreat, drainage around the margin of the ice dam which began in the summer of 1987 is expected to continue and no further outburst floods are anticipated.

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References

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Journal of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0022-1430
  • EISSN: 1727-5652
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-glaciology
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