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Dynamics of a small surge-type glacier using one-dimensional geophysical inversion

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We investigate the dynamics of a small surge-type valley glacier as part of a study to characterize glacier response to climate in the Donjek Range, southwest Yukon, Canada. Pole displacements were measured using kinematic GPS techniques during three consecutive summer field seasons. Measured surface velocities range from <10 m a–1 over the lower 1500 m of the 5 km long glacier to a maximum of ∼25–35 m a–1 1over the upper 3500 m. Basal velocities along an approximate flowline are reconstructed from the measured surface velocities using inverse methods. Control tests are used to validate the inversion scheme, and sensitivity tests are performed to evaluate the influence of the flow-law coefficient, shape factor and longitudinal averaging length. Inversion of the real data shows that basal motion accounts for 50–100% of the total surface motion along the flowline. Based on these results, and several other lines of evidence, we suggest this glacier may be undergoing a slow surge.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-12-01

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.

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