Articles

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

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Science  01 Feb 1985:
Vol. 227, Issue 4686, pp. 469-479
DOI: 10.1126/science.227.4686.469

Abstract

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.