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Geologic Publications for Mount Rainier

Variations in the sliding of a temperate glacier

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Author(s): Steven M. Hodge

Document Type:
Publisher: Journal of Glaciology
Published Year: 1974
Volume: 13
Number: 69
Pages: 21
DOI Identifier:
ISBN Identifier:

Detailed measurements of the positions of stakes along the center-line of the lower Nisqually Glacier were made over a period of two years. Variations in the basal sliding speed were calculated from the measured changes in surface speed, surface slope, and thickness, using the glacier flow model of Nye (1952) and allowing for the effect of the valley walls, longitudinal stress gradients, and uncertainties in the flow law of ice. The flow is predominantly by basal sliding and has a pronounced seasonal variation of approximately ±25%. Internal deformation contributes progressively less to the total motion with distance up-glacier. Neither the phase nor the magnitude of the seasonal velocity fluctuations can be accounted for by seasonal variations in the state of stress within the ice or at the bed, and the variations do not correlate directly with the melt-water discharge from the terminus. A seasonal wave in the ice flow travels down the glacier at a speed too high for propagation by internal deformation or the pressure melting/enhanced creep mechanism of basal sliding.

The rate of sliding appears to be determined primarily by the amount of water in temporary storage in the glacier. The peak in sliding speed occurs, on the average, at the same time as the maximum liquid water storage of the South Cascade Glacier. The data support the idea that glaciers store water in the fall, winter and spring and then release it in the summer. This temporary storage may be greatest near the equilibrium line. The amount of stored water may increase over a period of years and be released catastrophically as a jokulhlaup. Any dependence of sliding on the basal shear stress is probably masked by the effect of variations in the hydrostatic pressure of water having access to the bed.

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In Text Citation:
Hodge (1974) or (Hodge, 1974)

References Citation:
Hodge, S.M., 1974, Variations in the sliding of a temperate glacier: Journal of Glaciology, Vol. 13, No. 69, 21 p..