MOUNT RAINIER
GEOLOGY & WEATHER
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Glacier Info - Edmunds Glacier

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

Edmunds Glacier
Located on the eastern slope of Mount Rainier this glacier was named for United States Senator George F. Edmunds who visited there in June of 1883. So impressed with the scenery of the mountain Edmunds that he joined with a group of prominent men who wrote a joint letter urging the establishment of a national park. (Reese, 2009)

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

Aerial Extent:
0.445 ± 0.026 square miles (1.154 ± 0.067 km2) (Rank: 18 of 29)

Debris Cover (Based on Beason, 2017 - not updated in 2021):
0.050 ± 0.004 square miles (0.130 ± 0.011 km2) (Rank: 12 of 29)

Estimated Glacial Volume: (See notes below)
0.0062 cubic miles (0.0256 km3)

Highest Elevation (Head):
10,130 feet (3,088 m)

Lowest Elevation (Terminus):
6,979 feet (2,127 m)

Elevation Range:
3,151 feet (960 m)

Length:
1.32 miles (2.12 km)

Average Slope:
25°

Average Flow Direction (Flows towards):
West (280°)

CHANGE IN EXTENT, 1896-2015 (Beason, 2017):
Units 1896 1913 1971 1994 2009 2015 2021
Area, mi2 1.089 0.591 0.569 0.547 0.502 0.484 0.445
Area, km2 2.820 1.530 1.474 1.417 1.300 1.252 1.154

Area change between periods
1913 1971 1994 2009 2015 2021
1896 -0.498 mi2
(-1.290 km2)
-0.520 mi2
(-1.346 km2)
-0.542 mi2
(-1.403 km2)
-0.587 mi2
(-1.520 km2)
-0.605 mi2
(-1.567 km2)
-0.643 mi2
(-1.666 km2)
1913 -- -0.022 mi2
(-0.056 km2)
-0.044 mi2
(-0.113 km2)
-0.089 mi2
(-0.230 km2)
-0.107 mi2
(-0.278 km2)
-0.145 mi2
(-0.376 km2)
1971 -- -0.022 mi2
(-0.057 km2)
-0.067 mi2
(-0.174 km2)
-0.085 mi2
(-0.221 km2)
-0.123 mi2
(-0.320 km2)
1994 -- -0.045 mi2
(-0.117 km2)
-0.063 mi2
(-0.164 km2)
-0.102 mi2
(-0.263 km2)
2009 -- -0.018 mi2
(-0.048 km2)
-0.056 mi2
(-0.146 km2)
2015 -- -0.038 mi2
(-0.099 km2)

Percent change between periods
1913 1971 1994 2009 2015 2021
1896 -45.74 % -47.74 % -49.76 % -53.90 % -55.58 % -59.09 %
1913 -- -3.69 % -7.40 % -15.03 % -18.14 % -24.59 %
1971 -- -3.86 % -11.78 % -15.00 % -21.71 %
1994 -- -8.24 % -11.59 % -18.56 %
2009 -- -3.66 % -11.26 %
2015 -- -7.89 %

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 0.0168 0.0084 0.0081 0.0075 0.0077 0.0070 0.0067 0.0062
Volume, km3 0.0700 0.0352 0.0338 0.0311 0.0323 0.0293 0.0281 0.0256
* = 1981 was the only year that glacial volumes have been measured. See note below.

Basal Shear Stress (τ): 2,598.50 lbs/ft2

Volume change between periods
1913 1971 1981 1994 2009 2015 2021
1896 -0.0083 mi3
(-0.0348 km3)
-0.0087 mi3
(-0.0363 km3)
-0.0093 mi3
(-0.0389 km3)
-0.0090 mi3
(-0.0377 km3)
-0.0098 mi3
(-0.0407 km3)
-0.0101 mi3
(-0.0419 km3)
-0.0106 mi3
(-0.0444 km3)
1913 -- -0.0003 mi3
(-0.0015 km3)
-0.0010 mi3
(-0.0041 km3)
-0.0007 mi3
(-0.0029 km3)
-0.0014 mi3
(-0.0059 km3)
-0.0017 mi3
(-0.0071 km3)
-0.0023 mi3
(-0.0096 km3)
1971 -- -0.0006 mi3
(-0.0026 km3)
-0.0004 mi3
(-0.0015 km3)
-0.0011 mi3
(-0.0044 km3)
-0.0014 mi3
(-0.0056 km3)
-0.0019 mi3
(-0.0081 km3)
1981 -- 0.0003 mi3
(0.0011 km3)
-0.0004 mi3
(-0.0018 km3)
-0.0007 mi3
(-0.0030 km3)
-0.0013 mi3
(-0.0055 km3)
1994 -- -0.0007 mi3
(-0.0030 km3)
-0.0010 mi3
(-0.0042 km3)
-0.0016 mi3
(-0.0067 km3)
2009 -- -0.0003 mi3
(-0.0012 km3)
-0.0009 mi3
(-0.0037 km3)
2015 -- -0.0006 mi3
(-0.0025 km3)

Percent change between periods
1913 1971 1981 1994 2009 2015 2021
1896 -49.70 % -51.78 % -55.51 % -53.87 % -58.12 % -59.83 % -63.38 %
1913 -- -4.14 % -11.55 % -8.28 % -16.73 % -20.15 % -27.19 %
1971 -- -7.73 % -4.33 % -13.14 % -16.70 % -24.05 %
1981 -- 3.69 % -5.86 % -9.72 % -17.68 %
1994 -- -9.21 % -12.93 % -20.61 %
2009 -- -4.10 % -12.56 %
2015 -- -8.82 %

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