MOUNT RAINIER
GEOLOGY & WEATHER
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Glacier Info - Liberty Cap Glacier

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NOTE: This page has been updated to show 2021 extents and changes

Liberty Cap Glacier
Liberty Cap is the northern peak of the summit of Mount Rainier with an elevation of 14,112 feet. Bailey Willis named it in 1883 for "....its fanciful resemblance to the head and cap of the Goddess of Liberty..." Dee Molenaar reports that it had previously been called North Peak for its location. (Reese, 2009)

STATISTICS AS OF 2021 (Beason et al., 2022):

Aerial Extent:
0.798 ± 0.044 square miles (2.066 ± 0.115 km2) (Rank: 13 of 29)

Debris Cover (Based on Beason, 2017 - not updated in 2021):
--No appreciable debris cover in 2015--

Estimated Glacial Volume: (See notes below)
0.0169 cubic miles (0.0703 km3)

Highest Elevation (Head):
14,121 feet (4,304 m)

Lowest Elevation (Terminus):
10,585 feet (3,226 m)

Elevation Range:
3,537 feet (1,078 m)

Length:
1.69 miles (2.71 km)

Average Slope:
30°

Average Flow Direction (Flows towards):
Northwest (314°)

CHANGE IN EXTENT, 1896-2015 (Beason, 2017):
Units 1896 1913 1971 1994 2009 2015 2021
Area, mi2 1.090 0.927 0.803 0.812 0.849 0.826 0.798
Area, km2 2.822 2.401 2.079 2.102 2.200 2.139 2.066

Area change between periods
1913 1971 1994 2009 2015 2021
1896 -0.163 mi2
(-0.422 km2)
-0.287 mi2
(-0.743 km2)
-0.278 mi2
(-0.721 km2)
-0.240 mi2
(-0.623 km2)
-0.264 mi2
(-0.684 km2)
-0.292 mi2
(-0.757 km2)
1913 -- -0.124 mi2
(-0.321 km2)
-0.115 mi2
(-0.299 km2)
-0.078 mi2
(-0.201 km2)
-0.101 mi2
(-0.262 km2)
-0.129 mi2
(-0.335 km2)
1971 -- 0.009 mi2
(0.023 km2)
0.046 mi2
(0.120 km2)
0.023 mi2
(0.059 km2)
-0.005 mi2
(-0.014 km2)
1994 -- 0.038 mi2
(0.098 km2)
0.014 mi2
(0.037 km2)
-0.014 mi2
(-0.036 km2)
2009 -- -0.024 mi2
(-0.061 km2)
-0.052 mi2
(-0.134 km2)
2015 -- -0.028 mi2
(-0.073 km2)

Percent change between periods
1913 1971 1994 2009 2015 2021
1896 -14.94 % -26.33 % -25.53 % -22.06 % -24.22 % -26.81 %
1913 -- -13.39 % -12.45 % -8.37 % -10.92 % -13.96 %
1971 -- 1.08 % 5.79 % 2.85 % -0.66 %
1994 -- 4.66 % 1.75 % -1.72 %
2009 -- -2.78 % -6.09 %
2015 -- -3.41 %

ESTIMATED CHANGE IN VOLUME, 1896-2021 (Beason et al., 2022; George and Beason, 2017):
PLEASE see important notes about this, below...
Units 1896 1913 1971 1981* 1994 2009 2015 2021
Volume, mi3 0.0231 0.0197 0.0170 0.0007 0.0172 0.0180 0.0175 0.0169
Volume, km3 0.0965 0.0820 0.0711 0.0028 0.0718 0.0752 0.0731 0.0703
* = 1981 was the only year that glacial volumes have been measured. See note below.

Basal Shear Stress (τ): 2,761.65 lbs/ft2

Volume change between periods
1913 1971 1981 1994 2009 2015 2021
1896 -0.0035 mi3
(-0.0144 km3)
-0.0061 mi3
(-0.0254 km3)
-0.0225 mi3
(-0.0936 km3)
-0.0059 mi3
(-0.0246 km3)
-0.0051 mi3
(-0.0213 km3)
-0.0056 mi3
(-0.0234 km3)
-0.0063 mi3
(-0.0261 km3)
1913 -- -0.0026 mi3
(-0.0110 km3)
-0.0190 mi3
(-0.0792 km3)
-0.0025 mi3
(-0.0102 km3)
-0.0016 mi3
(-0.0069 km3)
-0.0021 mi3
(-0.0090 km3)
-0.0028 mi3
(-0.0117 km3)
1971 -- -0.0164 mi3
(-0.0682 km3)
0.0002 mi3
(0.0008 km3)
0.0010 mi3
(0.0041 km3)
0.0005 mi3
(0.0020 km3)
-0.0002 mi3
(-0.0007 km3)
1981 -- 0.0166 mi3
(0.0690 km3)
0.0174 mi3
(0.0723 km3)
0.0169 mi3
(0.0703 km3)
0.0162 mi3
(0.0675 km3)
1994 -- 0.0008 mi3
(0.0033 km3)
0.0003 mi3
(0.0013 km3)
-0.0004 mi3
(-0.0015 km3)
2009 -- -0.0005 mi3
(-0.0021 km3)
-0.0012 mi3
(-0.0048 km3)
2015 -- -0.0007 mi3
(-0.0028 km3)

Percent change between periods
1913 1971 1981 1994 2009 2015 2021
1896 -14.94 % -26.33 % -97.06 % -25.53 % -22.06 % -24.22 % -27.08 %
1913 -- -13.39 % -96.55 % -12.45 % -8.37 % -10.92 % -14.28 %
1971 -- -96.02 % 1.08 % 5.79 % 2.85 % -1.02 %
1981 -- 2,436.63 % 2,554.75 % 2,481.08 % 2,383.72 %
1994 -- 4.66 % 1.75 % -2.09 %
2009 -- -2.78 % -6.44 %
2015 -- -3.77 %

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:
This glacier flows into the Carbon, North Mowich, Edmunds, and South Mowich Glaciers

Data References: Beason et al., 2022, Beason, 2017, George and Beason, 2017, Reese, 2009, and Driedger and Kennard, 1986