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Glacier Info - Carbon Glacier

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Carbon Glacier
The Carbon Glacier is on the northwest side of Mount Rainier. Its name comes from the "dirty" color of the water as it comes from the snout of the glacier when large amounts of rock and gravel are released as the ice melts. The Carbon River flows from the glacier through a valley with coal deposits that were once mined extensively. (Reese, 2009)

STATISTICS AS OF 2015 (Beason, 2017):

Aerial Extent:
2.80 ± 0.14 square miles (7.26 ± 0.36 km2) (Rank: 3 of 29)

Debris Cover:
1.87 ± 0.10 square miles (4.84 ± 0.27 km2) (Rank: 1 of 29)

Highest Elevation (Head):
12,288 feet (3,745 m)

Lowest Elevation (Terminus):
3,550 feet (1,082 m)

Elevation Range:
8,738 feet (2,663 m)

Length:
5.22 miles (8.39 km)

Average Slope:
25°

Average Flow Direction (Flows towards):
North northwest (344°)

CHANGE IN EXTENT, 1896-2015 (Beason, 2017):
Units 1896 1913 1971 1994 2009 2015
Area, mi2 3.20 3.26 3.09 3.08 2.88 2.80
Area, km2 8.29 8.46 8.01 7.98 7.45 7.26

Area change between periods
1913 1971 1994 2009 2015
1896 0.06 mi2
(0.17 km2)
-0.11 mi2
(-0.28 km2)
-0.12 mi2
(-0.31 km2)
-0.32 mi2
(-0.84 km2)
-0.40 mi2
(-1.03 km2)
1913 -- -0.17 mi2
(-0.44 km2)
-0.19 mi2
(-0.48 km2)
-0.39 mi2
(-1.00 km2)
-0.46 mi2
(-1.20 km2)
1971 -- -0.01 mi2
(-0.04 km2)
-0.22 mi2
(-0.56 km2)
-0.29 mi2
(-0.76 km2)
1994 -- -0.20 mi2
(-0.52 km2)
-0.28 mi2
(-0.72 km2)
2009 -- -0.08 mi2
(-0.20 km2)

Percent change between periods
1913 1971 1994 2009 2015
1896 2.0 % -3.3 % -3.8 % -10.1 % -12.5 %
1913 -- -5.2 % -5.7 % -11.8 % -14.2 %
1971 -- -0.5 % -7.0 % -9.4 %
1994 -- -6.5 % -9.0 %
2009 -- -2.7 %

ESTIMATED CHANGE IN VOLUME, 1896-2015 (George and Beason, 2017):
PLEASE see important notes about this, below...
Units 1896 1913 1971 1981* 1994 2009 2015
Volume, mi3 0.2835 0.2891 0.2740 0.5594 0.2727 0.2549 0.2481
Volume, km3 1.1815 1.2050 1.1421 2.3318 1.1367 1.0624 1.0342
* = 1981 was the only year that glacial volumes have been measured. See note below.

Basal Shear Stress (τ): 3,129.46 lbs/ft2

Volume change between periods
1913 1971 1981 1994 2009 2015
1896 0.0056 mi3
(0.0235 km3)
-0.0095 mi3
(-0.0394 km3)
0.2760 mi3
(1.1503 km3)
-0.0107 mi3
(-0.0448 km3)
-0.0286 mi3
(-0.1191 km3)
-0.0353 mi3
(-0.1473 km3)
1913 -- -0.0151 mi3
(-0.0629 km3)
0.2703 mi3
(1.1268 km3)
-0.0164 mi3
(-0.0683 km3)
-0.0342 mi3
(-0.1427 km3)
-0.0410 mi3
(-0.1708 km3)
1971 -- 0.2854 mi3
(1.1897 km3)
-0.0013 mi3
(-0.0054 km3)
-0.0191 mi3
(-0.0797 km3)
-0.0259 mi3
(-0.1079 km3)
1981 -- -0.2867 mi3
(-1.1951 km3)
-0.3045 mi3
(-1.2694 km3)
-0.3113 mi3
(-1.2976 km3)
1994 -- -0.0178 mi3
(-0.0743 km3)
-0.0246 mi3
(-0.1025 km3)
2009 -- -0.0068 mi3
(-0.0282 km3)

Percent change between periods
1913 1971 1981 1994 2009 2015
1896 2.0 % -3.3 % 97.4 % -3.8 % -10.1 % -12.5 %
1913 -- -5.2 % 93.5 % -5.7 % -11.8 % -14.2 %
1971 -- 104.2 % -0.5 % -7.0 % -9.4 %
1981 -- -51.3 % -54.4 % -55.6 %
1994 -- -6.5 % -9.0 %
2009 -- -2.7 %

With the exception of data in 1981, all values here are calculated estimates based on work by Driedger and Kennard (1986), which calculates glacier volumes with the following equations:

If Glacier Length (L) > 8,500 ft:


If Glacier Length (L) < 8,500 ft:


Basal shear stress (τ) is calculated as:


Where V is the calculated volume of the glacier (ft3), A is the calculated area of the glacier (ft2), ρ is the density of ice (1.779 slug/ft3), g is the acceleration of gravity (32.178 ft/s2), and α is the average slope of the glacier.

If you need a really good research project, recalculating the glacier volumes at Mount Rainier is the way to go!

NOTES:


Data References: Beason, 2017, George and Beason, 2017, Reese, 2009, and Driedger and Kennard, 1986