• Interaction of two tributary glacier branches and implications for surge behavior

      Knowles, Christopher P.; Truffer, Martin; Larsen, Chris; Newman, David; Wackerbauer, Renate (2018-05)
      A glacier surge is a dynamic phenomenon where the glacier after a long period of quiescence, increases its velocities by up to two orders of magnitude. These surges tend to have complex interactions with tributaries, yet the role of these tributary interactions towards glacier surging has yet to be fully investigated. In this work we construct a synthetic glacier with an adjustable tributary intersection angle to study tributary interaction with the trunk glacier. The geometry we choose is loosely based on the main trunk and tributary interaction of Black Rapids Glacier, AK, USA, which last surged in 1936-1937. We investigate surface elevations, medial moraine locations, and erosive power at the bed of the glacier in response to our adjustable domain and relative flux. A nonlinear relationship between tributary flux and surface elevations is found that indicates flow restrictions can occur with geometries like Black Rapids Glacier. These flow restrictions cause increased ice thicknesses up-glacier which can lead to surges via increased stresses.