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Glacier Info - Whitman Glacier

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Whitman Glacier
This glacier on the east side of Mount Rainier was named for Marcus Whitman, the missionary. He was born in Rushville, New York, on September 4, 1802, received medical training and in 1835 made a missionary reconnaissance to Oregon. He married Narcissa Prentiss and with others made the first journey on the Oregon Trail by women. He and his family were killed by Cayuse Indians on November 29, 1847. (Reese, 2009)

STATISTICS AS OF 2015 (Beason, 2017):

Aerial Extent:
0.75 ± 0.04 square miles (1.94 ± 0.10 km2) (Rank: 15 of 29)

Debris Cover:
0.00 ± 0.00 square miles (0.00 ± 0.00 km2) (Rank: 3 of 29)

Highest Elevation (Head):
10,298 feet (3,139 m)

Lowest Elevation (Terminus):
7,580 feet (2,311 m)

Elevation Range:
2,717 feet (828 m)

Length:
2.02 miles (3.25 km)

Average Slope:
17°

Average Flow Direction (Flows towards):
South southeast (148°)

CHANGE IN EXTENT, 1896-2015 (Beason, 2017):
Units 1896 1913 1971 1994 2009 2015
Area, mi2 0.76 0.94 0.86 0.89 0.81 0.75
Area, km2 1.97 2.43 2.23 2.32 2.10 1.94

Area change between periods
1913 1971 1994 2009 2015
1896 0.18 mi2
(0.46 km2)
0.10 mi2
(0.25 km2)
0.13 mi2
(0.34 km2)
0.05 mi2
(0.13 km2)
-0.01 mi2
(-0.04 km2)
1913 -- -0.08 mi2
(-0.21 km2)
-0.05 mi2
(-0.12 km2)
-0.13 mi2
(-0.33 km2)
-0.19 mi2
(-0.49 km2)
1971 -- 0.03 mi2
(0.09 km2)
-0.05 mi2
(-0.12 km2)
-0.11 mi2
(-0.29 km2)
1994 -- -0.08 mi2
(-0.21 km2)
-0.15 mi2
(-0.38 km2)
2009 -- -0.06 mi2
(-0.16 km2)

Percent change between periods
1913 1971 1994 2009 2015
1896 23.2 % 12.7 % 17.3 % 6.4 % -1.8 %
1913 -- -8.5 % -4.8 % -13.6 % -20.3 %
1971 -- 4.0 % -5.6 % -12.9 %
1994 -- -9.2 % -16.3 %
2009 -- -7.7 %

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 0.0781 0.0962 0.0881 0.0981 0.0916 0.0831 0.0767
Volume, km3 0.3256 0.4011 0.3670 0.4088 0.3818 0.3466 0.3197
* = 1981 was the only year that glacial volumes have been measured. See note below.

Basal Shear Stress (τ): 2,706.23 lbs/ft2

Volume change between periods
1913 1971 1981 1994 2009 2015
1896 0.0181 mi3
(0.0755 km3)
0.0099 mi3
(0.0414 km3)
0.0199 mi3
(0.0831 km3)
0.0135 mi3
(0.0562 km3)
0.0050 mi3
(0.0209 km3)
-0.0014 mi3
(-0.0059 km3)
1913 -- -0.0082 mi3
(-0.0341 km3)
0.0018 mi3
(0.0077 km3)
-0.0046 mi3
(-0.0193 km3)
-0.0131 mi3
(-0.0545 km3)
-0.0195 mi3
(-0.0814 km3)
1971 -- 0.0100 mi3
(0.0417 km3)
0.0035 mi3
(0.0148 km3)
-0.0049 mi3
(-0.0205 km3)
-0.0113 mi3
(-0.0473 km3)
1981 -- -0.0065 mi3
(-0.0270 km3)
-0.0149 mi3
(-0.0622 km3)
-0.0214 mi3
(-0.0890 km3)
1994 -- -0.0085 mi3
(-0.0352 km3)
-0.0149 mi3
(-0.0621 km3)
2009 -- -0.0064 mi3
(-0.0268 km3)

Percent change between periods
1913 1971 1981 1994 2009 2015
1896 23.2 % 12.7 % 25.5 % 17.3 % 6.4 % -1.8 %
1913 -- -8.5 % 1.9 % -4.8 % -13.6 % -20.3 %
1971 -- 11.4 % 4.0 % -5.6 % -12.9 %
1981 -- -6.6 % -15.2 % -21.8 %
1994 -- -9.2 % -16.3 %
2009 -- -7.7 %

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