MOUNT RAINIER
GEOLOGY & WEATHER
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Glacier Info - Russell Glacier

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

Russell Glacier
Russell Glacier is located on the northwest side of the mountain west and north of Russell Cliff separated from that feature by Willis Wall, Liberty Ridge and the upper regions of the Carbon Glacier. It is connected to the Carbon Glacier above Seattle Park. It was named by the Mountaineers in 1909 to honor Professor I.C. Russell. Israel Cook Russell was a professor of geology at the University of Michigan in 1892 and conducted numerous surveys in the American west, in New Zealand, and the West Indies. He died in 1906. (Reese, 2009)

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

Aerial Extent:
1.042 ± 0.057 square miles (2.698 ± 0.148 km2) (Rank: 12 of 29)

Debris Cover (Based on Beason, 2017 - not updated in 2021):
0.009 ± 0.001 square miles (0.023 ± 0.003 km2) (Rank: 7 of 29)

Estimated Glacial Volume: (See notes below)
0.0268 cubic miles (0.1118 km3)

Highest Elevation (Head):
9,675 feet (2,949 m)

Lowest Elevation (Terminus):
6,662 feet (2,031 m)

Elevation Range:
3,013 feet (918 m)

Length:
1.70 miles (2.74 km)

Average Slope:
22°

Average Flow Direction (Flows towards):
North northeast (28°)

CHANGE IN EXTENT, 1896-2015 (Beason, 2017):
Units 1896 1913 1971 1994 2009 2015 2021
Area, mi2 2.550 1.895 1.380 1.404 1.077 1.117 1.042
Area, km2 6.605 4.909 3.574 3.637 2.789 2.892 2.698

Area change between periods
1913 1971 1994 2009 2015 2021
1896 -0.655 mi2
(-1.696 km2)
-1.170 mi2
(-3.031 km2)
-1.146 mi2
(-2.968 km2)
-1.473 mi2
(-3.816 km2)
-1.434 mi2
(-3.713 km2)
-1.509 mi2
(-3.907 km2)
1913 -- -0.515 mi2
(-1.335 km2)
-0.491 mi2
(-1.272 km2)
-0.818 mi2
(-2.120 km2)
-0.779 mi2
(-2.017 km2)
-0.854 mi2
(-2.211 km2)
1971 -- 0.024 mi2
(0.063 km2)
-0.303 mi2
(-0.785 km2)
-0.263 mi2
(-0.682 km2)
-0.338 mi2
(-0.876 km2)
1994 -- -0.327 mi2
(-0.848 km2)
-0.288 mi2
(-0.745 km2)
-0.363 mi2
(-0.939 km2)
2009 -- 0.040 mi2
(0.103 km2)
-0.035 mi2
(-0.091 km2)
2015 -- -0.075 mi2
(-0.194 km2)

Percent change between periods
1913 1971 1994 2009 2015 2021
1896 -25.68 % -45.89 % -44.94 % -57.77 % -56.21 % -59.15 %
1913 -- -27.19 % -25.91 % -43.18 % -41.08 % -45.04 %
1971 -- 1.77 % -21.95 % -19.07 % -24.51 %
1994 -- -23.31 % -20.48 % -25.82 %
2009 -- 3.69 % -3.27 %
2015 -- -6.72 %

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 0.0662 0.0492 0.0358 0.0211 0.0364 0.0279 0.0290 0.0268
Volume, km3 0.2759 0.2050 0.1493 0.0878 0.1519 0.1165 0.1208 0.1118
* = 1981 was the only year that glacial volumes have been measured. See note below.

Basal Shear Stress (τ): 2,834.30 lbs/ft2

Volume change between periods
1913 1971 1981 1994 2009 2015 2021
1896 -0.0170 mi3
(-0.0708 km3)
-0.0304 mi3
(-0.1266 km3)
-0.0451 mi3
(-0.1881 km3)
-0.0297 mi3
(-0.1240 km3)
-0.0382 mi3
(-0.1594 km3)
-0.0372 mi3
(-0.1551 km3)
-0.0393 mi3
(-0.1640 km3)
1913 -- -0.0134 mi3
(-0.0557 km3)
-0.0281 mi3
(-0.1172 km3)
-0.0127 mi3
(-0.0531 km3)
-0.0212 mi3
(-0.0885 km3)
-0.0202 mi3
(-0.0842 km3)
-0.0223 mi3
(-0.0932 km3)
1971 -- -0.0147 mi3
(-0.0615 km3)
0.0006 mi3
(0.0026 km3)
-0.0079 mi3
(-0.0328 km3)
-0.0068 mi3
(-0.0285 km3)
-0.0090 mi3
(-0.0374 km3)
1981 -- 0.0154 mi3
(0.0641 km3)
0.0069 mi3
(0.0287 km3)
0.0079 mi3
(0.0330 km3)
0.0058 mi3
(0.0241 km3)
1994 -- -0.0085 mi3
(-0.0354 km3)
-0.0075 mi3
(-0.0311 km3)
-0.0096 mi3
(-0.0400 km3)
2009 -- 0.0010 mi3
(0.0043 km3)
-0.0011 mi3
(-0.0046 km3)
2015 -- -0.0021 mi3
(-0.0089 km3)

Percent change between periods
1913 1971 1981 1994 2009 2015 2021
1896 -25.68 % -45.89 % -68.18 % -44.94 % -57.77 % -56.21 % -59.45 %
1913 -- -27.19 % -57.18 % -25.91 % -43.18 % -41.08 % -45.44 %
1971 -- -41.19 % 1.77 % -21.95 % -19.07 % -25.07 %
1981 -- 73.04 % 32.70 % 37.60 % 27.41 %
1994 -- -23.31 % -20.48 % -26.37 %
2009 -- 3.69 % -3.99 %
2015 -- -7.41 %

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