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Snow accumulation and ice flow at Dôme du Goûter (4300 m), Mont Blanc, French Alps

  • C. Vincent (a1), M. Vallon (a1), J. F. Pinglot (a1), M. Funk (a2) and L. Reynaud (a1)...

Abstract

Glaciological experiments have been carried out at Dôme du Goûter (4300 m a.s.l.), Mont Blanc, in order to understand the flow of firn/ice in this high-altitude Alpine glacierized area. Accumulation measurements from stakes show a very strong spatial variability and an unusual feature of mass-balance fluctuations for the Alps, i.e. the snow accumulation does not show any seasonal patterns. Measured vertical velocities which should match with long-term mean mass balance are consistent with observed accumulations. Therefore, the measurement of vertical velocities seems a good way of quickly obtaining reliable mean accumulation values for several decades in such a region.

A simple flow model can be used to determine the main flowlines of the glacier and to propose snow/ice age of core samples from the two boreholes drilled down tο the bedrock in June 1994. These results coincide with radioactivity measurements made to identify the well-known radioactive snow layers of 1963 and 1986. We can hope to obtain ice samples 55–60 years old about 20 or 30 m above the bedrock (110 m deep). Below, the deformation of the ice layers is loo great to be dated accurately.

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References

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