Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published February 1, 1985 | public
Journal Article

Glacier Surge Mechanism: 1982-1983 Surge of Variegated Glacier, Alaska


The hundredfold speedup in glacier motion in a surge of the kind the kind that took place in Variegated Glacier in 1982-1983 is caused by the buildup of high water pressure in the basal passageway system, which is made possible by a fundamental and pervasive change in the geometry and water-transport characteristics of this system. The behavior of the glacier in surge has many remarkable features, which can provide clues to a detailed theory of the surging process. The surge mechanism is akin to a proposed mechanism of overthrust faulting.

Additional Information

© 1985 American Association for the Advancement of Science. This work was made possible by grants DPP-82- 09824, DPP-82-00725, EAR-79-19424, and EAR- 79-19530 from the National Science Foundation. It was carried out with permission of the U.S. Forest Service (Tongass National Forest) and the U.S. National Park Service (Wrangell-St. Elias National Park). Essential contributions to this work were made by pilots of Livingston Helicopters, Inc., Juneau, and Gulf Air Taxi, Inc., Yakutat. We acknowledge the able and dedicated efforts of many co-workers and assistants in the fieldwork, including H. Aschmann, M. Balise, M., Hendrickson, R. Jacobel, T. Johanesson, M. Magnesson, E. Mezger, C. Moore, P. Mullen, M. Richards, D. Sabol, P. Schweizer, E . Senear, D. Sollie, B. Svendson, C. Tobin, and P. Titus. A. Iken contributed greatly to the work. The photo in Fig. 3A is due to B. Krimmer that in Fig. 3B and the cover photo to E. Mezger, and in Fig, 8 to A. Iken. Equipment and help in carrying out the dye-tracer experiment were provided by the staff of the U.S. Geological Survey, Tacoma, Wash., particularly B. Krimmel. Contribution No. 4025 from the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology.

Additional details

August 19, 2023
October 17, 2023