Science Diary: Glaciers – Breaking Up

Science Diary: Glaciers – Breaking Up

Music; Ambience: Iceberg calving

PJF: “Well, we’re in the field, walking across Arrowhead Island. On which the glacier rests.”

JM: Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the word of the science from the inside. We’re with Geologist P. Jay Fleisher on Alaska’s Bering Glacier studying its movement. As P. Jay and his team traverse the glacier, a huge splash captures their attention.

PJF: “And as we were traversing across the island, a large slab of ice from the front of the glacier broke free and fell into a local pond on top of Arrowhead Island. A slab of ice that’s probably the size of a barn or bigger, actually. And it threw a spray of water well into the air as it collapsed in the pond at the front of the glacier. My crew has taken off a few hundred meters to have a closer look and I’m going to join them. I’m looking at the massive wall of ice, covered by rock debris, which is right at the edge of the glacier. And it’s a continuous cover of rock debris, which tends to insulate the ice from melting. So, apparently there was enough removal of ice from beneath one segment of this cliff where a fracture probably 40 to 50 meters across, that fracture yielded and the ice under it all of that ice just broke free and dropped. And when it dropped it dropped into a ponded area right at the ice front and created the spray that we saw from a distance of about a 100 meters.”

JM: We’ll hear more about P. Jay Fleisher’s research in future programs. Please visit our website, pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Science Diary: Glaciers - Breaking Up

A loud splash catches the attention of researchers atop a glacier.
Air Date:02/26/2013
Scientist:
Transcript:

Science Diary: Glaciers - Breaking Up

Music; Ambience: Iceberg calving

PJF: "Well, we're in the field, walking across Arrowhead Island. On which the glacier rests."

JM: Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries, a glimpse of the word of the science from the inside. We're with Geologist P. Jay Fleisher on Alaska's Bering Glacier studying its movement. As P. Jay and his team traverse the glacier, a huge splash captures their attention.

PJF: "And as we were traversing across the island, a large slab of ice from the front of the glacier broke free and fell into a local pond on top of Arrowhead Island. A slab of ice that's probably the size of a barn or bigger, actually. And it threw a spray of water well into the air as it collapsed in the pond at the front of the glacier. My crew has taken off a few hundred meters to have a closer look and I'm going to join them. I'm looking at the massive wall of ice, covered by rock debris, which is right at the edge of the glacier. And it's a continuous cover of rock debris, which tends to insulate the ice from melting. So, apparently there was enough removal of ice from beneath one segment of this cliff where a fracture probably 40 to 50 meters across, that fracture yielded and the ice under it all of that ice just broke free and dropped. And when it dropped it dropped into a ponded area right at the ice front and created the spray that we saw from a distance of about a 100 meters."

JM: We'll hear more about P. Jay Fleisher's research in future programs. Please visit our website, pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.