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Spatial and morphological change on Eliot Glacier, Mount Hood, Oregon, USA

  • Keith M. Jackson (a1) and Andrew G. Fountain (a2)
Abstract
Abstract

Eliot Glacier is a small (1.6 km2) glacier on Mount Hood, Oregon, USA, and its ablation zone is largely covered with rock debris. We examine the interrelated processes of ablation rates, ice thickness and surface velocities to understand the retreat rate of this glacier. Since measurements began in 1901, the glacier has retreated 680 m, lost 19% of its area and thinned by about 50 m at the lower glacier profile before the terminus retreated past that point. The upper profile, 800m up-glacier, has shown thinning and thickening due to a kinematic wave resulting from a cool period during the 1940s–70s, and is currently about the same thickness as in 1940. Overall, the glacier has retreated at a slower rate than other glaciers on Mount Hood. We hypothesize that the rock debris covering the ablation zone reduces Eliot Glacier’s sensitivity to global warming and slows its retreat rate compared to other glaciers on Mount Hood. Spatial variations in debris thickness are the primary factor in controlling spatial variations in melt. A continuity model of debris thickness shows the rate of debris thickening down-glacier is roughly constant and is a result of the compensating effects of strain thickening and debris melt-out from the ice.

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References
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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
  • URL: /core/journals/annals-of-glaciology
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