During the 1978 and 1979 field seasons, ice thicknesses on the Quelccaya ice cap were determined using a Worden geodetic gravity meter along a west–east traverse and using a mono–pulse ice radar sounder along a north–south traverse. The maximum ice thickness measured was 180 ± 10 m. Based upon the known thickness of the ice cap and the net accumulation, depth–age calculations indicate that an ice core record covering at least the past 600 years and perhaps 1 300 years could be obtained from this tropical ice cap.
A topographic map of the Qori Kalis glacier (the largest outlet glacier from the Quelccaya ice cap) has been compiled at a scale of 1:6 000 from 1963 aerial photography. Terrestrial photography of the glacier was obtained in 1978 and coordinates of the edge of the glacier were determined photogrammetrically. Comparison of these two shows that over this 15 year period the glacier has thinned with the terminus retreating more than 100 m. The retreat measured for the Qori Kalis glacier is consistent with the behavior of other tropical glaciers.