The Laser ranging system at Gilbert Point is temporarily off-line until further notice. Due to damage which occurred last summer to the power system, a temporary power solution fitted in September has failed. At the current time plans to repair the system are tentative.
As the summer season comes to an end and the Hubbard Glacier terminus has begun its seasonal retreat, we are busy putting the finishing touches on an exciting season of activity. Hubbard advanced to within 70 m of Gilbert Point in July and showed signs of a more advanced position within Disenchantment Bay and Russell Fjord than in previous years. In terms of a closure, the advanced position of the glacier around Gilbert Point indicates that if a closure is to occur in the future the mechanism will be significantly different than previous closures (1986, 2002).
Researchers from CRREL, University of Maine, University of Kansas and the USGS Alaska Science Center have been monitoring the progress of Hubbard Glacier throughout the summer. In addition to the long-term monitoring systems activities included site visits to the glacier terminus, acquisition of high-resolution satellite imagery, seismic monitoring and on-ice GPS deployment to monitor ice seasonal ice velocities. We will continue to monitor the terminus dynamics at Gilbert Point as funding sources allow us to maintain the infrastructure as necessary.
As sure as the seasons come and go Hubbard Glacier continues its advance towards Gilbert Point. After last years rather quiet season of activity Hubbard has advanced to within 100 meters of Gilbert point. Researchers at USACE CRREL, USGS and the University fo Maine are keeping a watchful eye on its activities. The photos below were taken on June 27, 2011 by CRREL (Dan Lawson). The ice face remains tall and near vertical across most of the terminus. The ice is wrapping itself around Gilbert Point in Russell Fiord and Disenchantment Bay, but the gap at the narrowest point is still about 75 to 80 m off the bedrock face. The ice near the shoal in Disenchantment Bay is being diverted to the east of it and toward Gilbert Point, creating the snout apparent in the image from the Disenchantment side of the channel. The ice face appears in many ways similar to 2009 but possibly with more ice encroaching on the shore at the head of Russell and Disenchantment Bay.
Our impression is that the glacier remains active in its seasonal advance but prediction of a closure occuring this season is still in question. Stay tuned for more information to come as information relating to Hubbard Glaciers activities is accumulated.
Researchers from the US Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab, The University of Maine, the USGS Alaska Science Center and The University of Kansas visited Hubbard Glacier to conduct a campaign to monitor short and long duration glacier activity. These activities included deployment of on-ice GPS for monitoring short term (2-weeks) and long-term (seasonal) glacier velocities. The installation of a new GPS and seismic monitoring station at Haenke Island and new time-lapse and climate monitoring stations in the upper reaches of the glacier.
Dr Luke Copeland, University of Ottawa has provided the following info about three tributaries glaciers that feed into Hubbard Glacier that are currently surging. The surges are centered around Mt. Queen Mary (60 33’N, 139 50’W), and are in three parallel valleys. Local pilots reported these surges this winter (around Jan-Mar). There is significant crevassing, surface drawdown and strand lines. The terminus of Hubbard glacier was significantly advanced this year in comparison to the last three years of measurement and to date continues to show continued activity but slightly back from it’s seasonal maximum. For information about the surges please contact Dr. Luke Copeland at the University of Ottawa or visit the contact links of this website.