MOUNT RAINIER
GEOLOGY & WEATHER
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Glacier Info - Puyallup Glacier

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

Puyallup Glacier
Puyallup is the name of an Indian tribe that dwelt on the Puyallup River and Commencement Bay. The word is said to mean "...shadow from the dense shade of the forest..." (Reese, 2009)

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

Aerial Extent:
1.202 ± 0.066 square miles (3.114 ± 0.170 km2) (Rank: 9 of 29)

Debris Cover (Based on Beason, 2017 - not updated in 2021):
0.180 ± 0.012 square miles (0.466 ± 0.032 km2) (Rank: 5 of 29)

Estimated Glacial Volume: (See notes below)
0.0336 cubic miles (0.1402 km3)

Highest Elevation (Head):
10,244 feet (3,122 m)

Lowest Elevation (Terminus):
5,534 feet (1,687 m)

Elevation Range:
4,709 feet (1,435 m)

Length:
2.66 miles (4.29 km)

Average Slope:
21°

Average Flow Direction (Flows towards):
West (279°)

CHANGE IN EXTENT, 1896-2015 (Beason, 2017):
Units 1896 1913 1971 1994 2009 2015 2021
Area, mi2 3.268 2.013 1.666 1.679 1.359 1.258 1.202
Area, km2 8.463 5.213 4.316 4.348 3.519 3.258 3.114

Area change between periods
1913 1971 1994 2009 2015 2021
1896 -1.255 mi2
(-3.251 km2)
-1.601 mi2
(-4.147 km2)
-1.589 mi2
(-4.115 km2)
-1.909 mi2
(-4.944 km2)
-2.010 mi2
(-5.206 km2)
-2.065 mi2
(-5.349 km2)
1913 -- -0.346 mi2
(-0.897 km2)
-0.334 mi2
(-0.864 km2)
-0.654 mi2
(-1.694 km2)
-0.755 mi2
(-1.955 km2)
-0.810 mi2
(-2.099 km2)
1971 -- 0.012 mi2
(0.032 km2)
-0.308 mi2
(-0.797 km2)
-0.409 mi2
(-1.058 km2)
-0.464 mi2
(-1.202 km2)
1994 -- -0.320 mi2
(-0.829 km2)
-0.421 mi2
(-1.090 km2)
-0.476 mi2
(-1.234 km2)
2009 -- -0.101 mi2
(-0.261 km2)
-0.156 mi2
(-0.405 km2)
2015 -- -0.055 mi2
(-0.144 km2)

Percent change between periods
1913 1971 1994 2009 2015 2021
1896 -38.41 % -49.00 % -48.62 % -58.42 % -61.51 % -63.21 %
1913 -- -17.20 % -16.58 % -32.49 % -37.50 % -40.26 %
1971 -- 0.74 % -18.47 % -24.52 % -27.85 %
1994 -- -19.07 % -25.08 % -28.38 %
2009 -- -7.42 % -11.51 %
2015 -- -4.41 %

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 0.0776 0.0478 0.0396 0.0693 0.0399 0.0323 0.0299 0.0336
Volume, km3 0.3236 0.1993 0.1650 0.2888 0.1663 0.1346 0.1246 0.1402
* = 1981 was the only year that glacial volumes have been measured. See note below.

Basal Shear Stress (τ): 2,423.01 lbs/ft2

Volume change between periods
1913 1971 1981 1994 2009 2015 2021
1896 -0.0298 mi3
(-0.1243 km3)
-0.0380 mi3
(-0.1586 km3)
-0.0083 mi3
(-0.0348 km3)
-0.0378 mi3
(-0.1574 km3)
-0.0454 mi3
(-0.1891 km3)
-0.0478 mi3
(-0.1990 km3)
-0.0440 mi3
(-0.1834 km3)
1913 -- -0.0082 mi3
(-0.0343 km3)
0.0215 mi3
(0.0895 km3)
-0.0079 mi3
(-0.0331 km3)
-0.0155 mi3
(-0.0648 km3)
-0.0179 mi3
(-0.0747 km3)
-0.0142 mi3
(-0.0591 km3)
1971 -- 0.0297 mi3
(0.1238 km3)
0.0003 mi3
(0.0012 km3)
-0.0073 mi3
(-0.0305 km3)
-0.0097 mi3
(-0.0405 km3)
-0.0060 mi3
(-0.0249 km3)
1981 -- -0.0294 mi3
(-0.1226 km3)
-0.0370 mi3
(-0.1543 km3)
-0.0394 mi3
(-0.1643 km3)
-0.0357 mi3
(-0.1487 km3)
1994 -- -0.0076 mi3
(-0.0317 km3)
-0.0100 mi3
(-0.0417 km3)
-0.0063 mi3
(-0.0261 km3)
2009 -- -0.0024 mi3
(-0.0100 km3)
0.0013 mi3
(0.0056 km3)
2015 -- 0.0037 mi3
(0.0156 km3)

Percent change between periods
1913 1971 1981 1994 2009 2015 2021
1896 -38.41 % -49.00 % -10.75 % -48.62 % -58.42 % -61.51 % -56.68 %
1913 -- -17.20 % 44.91 % -16.58 % -32.49 % -37.50 % -29.67 %
1971 -- 75.02 % 0.74 % -18.47 % -24.52 % -15.06 %
1981 -- -42.44 % -53.41 % -56.87 % -51.47 %
1994 -- -19.07 % -25.08 % -15.69 %
2009 -- -7.42 % 4.18 %
2015 -- 12.53 %

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