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Glacier Info - Muir Snowfield

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Muir Snowfield
The arm of the Nisqually Glacier upward from McClure Rock to the vicinity of Camp Muir was named Muir Snowfield for John Muir, the naturalist and writer. Muir climbed the mountain in 1888 and selected a site for his overnight camp that had previously been known as Cloud Camp by mountain climbers and is now called Camp Muir. (Reese, 2009)

STATISTICS AS OF 2015 (Beason, 2017):

Aerial Extent:
0.34 ± 0.02 square miles (0.88 ± 0.04 km2) (Rank: 19 of 29)

Debris Cover:
--No appreciable debris cover in 2015--

Highest Elevation (Head):
10,092 feet (3,076 m)

Lowest Elevation (Terminus):
8,142 feet (2,482 m)

Elevation Range:
1,950 feet (595 m)

Length:
1.19 miles (1.91 km)

Average Slope:
18°

Average Flow Direction (Flows towards):
South (184°)

CHANGE IN EXTENT, 1896-2015 (Beason, 2017):
Units 1896 1913 1971 1994 2009 2015
Area, mi2 0.44 0.47 0.37 0.38 0.36 0.34
Area, km2 1.13 1.22 0.97 0.98 0.92 0.88

Area change between periods
1913 1971 1994 2009 2015
1896 0.03 mi2
(0.08 km2)
-0.06 mi2
(-0.16 km2)
-0.06 mi2
(-0.16 km2)
-0.08 mi2
(-0.21 km2)
-0.10 mi2
(-0.26 km2)
1913 -- -0.10 mi2
(-0.25 km2)
-0.09 mi2
(-0.24 km2)
-0.11 mi2
(-0.30 km2)
-0.13 mi2
(-0.34 km2)
1971 -- 0.00 mi2
(0.01 km2)
-0.02 mi2
(-0.05 km2)
-0.04 mi2
(-0.09 km2)
1994 -- -0.02 mi2
(-0.06 km2)
-0.04 mi2
(-0.10 km2)
2009 -- -0.02 mi2
(-0.04 km2)

Percent change between periods
1913 1971 1994 2009 2015
1896 7.4 % -14.5 % -13.7 % -18.7 % -22.7 %
1913 -- -20.4 % -19.7 % -24.3 % -28.0 %
1971 -- 0.9 % -5.0 % -9.6 %
1994 -- -5.8 % -10.4 %
2009 -- -4.9 %

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 0.0198 0.0214 0.0166 0.0156 0.0167 0.0156 0.0148
Volume, km3 0.0823 0.0892 0.0690 0.0650 0.0698 0.0652 0.0617
* = 1981 was the only year that glacial volumes have been measured. See note below.

Basal Shear Stress (τ): 2,488.30 lbs/ft2

Volume change between periods
1913 1971 1981 1994 2009 2015
1896 0.0016 mi3
(0.0069 km3)
-0.0032 mi3
(-0.0133 km3)
-0.0042 mi3
(-0.0173 km3)
-0.0030 mi3
(-0.0126 km3)
-0.0041 mi3
(-0.0171 km3)
-0.0050 mi3
(-0.0207 km3)
1913 -- -0.0048 mi3
(-0.0202 km3)
-0.0058 mi3
(-0.0242 km3)
-0.0047 mi3
(-0.0195 km3)
-0.0058 mi3
(-0.0240 km3)
-0.0066 mi3
(-0.0275 km3)
1971 -- -0.0010 mi3
(-0.0040 km3)
0.0002 mi3
(0.0007 km3)
-0.0009 mi3
(-0.0038 km3)
-0.0018 mi3
(-0.0074 km3)
1981 -- 0.0011 mi3
(0.0047 km3)
0.0000 mi3
(0.0002 km3)
-0.0008 mi3
(-0.0034 km3)
1994 -- -0.0011 mi3
(-0.0045 km3)
-0.0019 mi3
(-0.0081 km3)
2009 -- -0.0009 mi3
(-0.0035 km3)

Percent change between periods
1913 1971 1981 1994 2009 2015
1896 8.3 % -16.2 % -21.0 % -15.3 % -20.8 % -25.1 %
1913 -- -22.6 % -27.1 % -21.8 % -26.9 % -30.9 %
1971 -- -5.8 % 1.0 % -5.5 % -10.7 %
1981 -- 7.3 % 0.3 % -5.2 %
1994 -- -6.5 % -11.6 %
2009 -- -5.4 %

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