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Alpine Ice on Planet Earth: Glaciers and Their Rocky Cousins

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Monday, November 27, 2017 - 4:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • JILA Auditorium

Speaker Name(s): 

Robert Anderson

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences Colloquia

Event Details & Abstract: 

Alpine ice varies from pure ice glaciers to partially debris-covered glaciers, to rock glaciers defined by their compete debris cover. In many mountain ranges of the planet today, including our own in Colorado, the few pure ice glaciers are truly pathetic, hunkered in nooks and crannies where avalanches can feed them, their toes pulled in to minimize exposure to radiation. The valley heads are instead populated dominantly by rock glaciers that number in the hundreds. These rock-cloaked glaciers represent some of the most identifiable components of today’s cryosphere in these settings, and their over-steepened snouts pose often-overlooked hazards to travel in alpine terrain. They serve as conveyor belts on which rock is pulled away from the base of cliffs. I will describe numerical models designed to capture the full spectrum of glacier behavior, and that therefore include ice dynamics, rock dynamics and the feedbacks between them. I will also explore the glacier response to climate histories.

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