In 1957 through 1962 six deep holes were drilled by means of specially developed electrically powered hotpoints, 4 cm diameter aluminum pipes were placed in them, and annual inclinometer surveys were made to investigate the deformation field and flow law of the ice at depth. Although a strongly maritime climate with moderate temperatures implies that lower Blue Glacier should be temperate, freezing at depths as great as 200 m, sometimes even in summer, seriously hindered inclinometer surveys. This freezing cannot be due solely to chilling by winter cold and to leakage into initially dry pipes, but may also be due to wintertime changes of water Table in the glacier and to contamination of the ice by antifreeze. Another possibility, residual subfreezing zones carried down from the ice fall, seems unlikely.
Because the relatively inextensible pipe slips lengthwise in the deforming hole, observations of pipe motion at best give only the two components of ice velocity perpendicular to the hole. Thus, a single hole gives two independent equations connecting the nine unknown derivatives of the velocity components; two holes give four equations: and three or more give at most six. Incompressibility of the ice, when applicable gives another. The remaining unknowns must be either neglected or estimated from assumptions about the flow field. At the Blue Glacier holes the longitudinal strain-rate is less than about 0.01 per year, becoming more extensional down-glacier and more compressional at depth, because the holes were moving through a reach in which the surface steepens and the bed becomes more steep-sided and flat-bottomed. Although the effective strain-rates are only about 0.01 to 0.1 per year, so that errors are relatively large, they are in reasonable agreement with flow laws deduced from laboratory experiments by Glen, from tunnel contraction by Nye, and from deformation of Athabasca Glacier bore holes by Paterson and Savage, except that in the range of strain-rates covered the viscosities found for Blue Glacier are about half those derived from the other studies.