• Kennicott Glacier, Alaska: Ice Thickness Measurements using Ground Penetrating Radar (and Inexperienced Skiiers)

      Albert, Sarah (2013)
      What happens when you send a professor, a mentor, and seven inexperienced undergraduates into the field? Dr. Erin Pettit and UAF graduate student Christina Carr led myself and six other undergraduates onto Kennicott Glacier in hopes of teaching us about glacier dynamics and glaciology field techniques. We spent seven days on the glacier. During this time we learned various cold-climate survival techniques and successfully collected ground penetrating radar (GPR) measurements to attain an idea of ice thickness. Kennicott Glacier is located in the Wrangell Mountain Range in southcentral Alaska. It stretches 43 km from the top of Mt. Blackburn to its terminus in McCarthy, AK. Previous studies have used GPS velocities to estimate ice thickness. Estimated thicknesses range from 550m to 1080m using one model, and 400m to 820m using a second model . We used GPR to measure ice thickness and compared our thickness measurements to previous estimates. Our data show the ice thickness ranges from 300m to 600m. This is more similar to the second model’s estimates, but around a 270m - 510m difference is present between the data.