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Caldwell, Warren, 2005

Gravity and seismic investigation of a portion of the Taku Glacier, Alaska

Bibliographic Reference

Caldwell, Warren, 2005, Gravity and seismic investigation of a portion of the Taku Glacier, Alaska: Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University, B.A. thesis, 46 p.


The Taku Glacier is the largest glacier in the Juneau Icefield, which is located in southeastern Alaska. Recent seismic reflection surveys have found the Taku to be, at 1,400 m, the deepest temperate glacier on record, although previous seismic work had suggested its depth was only 350 m. During the 2004 summer field season, as a participant in the Juneau Icefield Research Program, I conducted a gravity survey in this location of the glacier to test these findings. I created an analytical forward model of a glacial cross-section to solve for the Bouguer anomaly, and found, from two different trials, depths of 1,214 +/- 89 m and 1,328 +/- 93 m at the deepest point of the cross-section. This confirms the most recent seismic work, and indicates that the base of the glacier is ~300 m below sea level at the cross-section measured, which is 25 km up-glacier from the terminus. The success of gravity methods to generate reliable cross-sections suggests that gravity surveys could play an important role in future study on the Juneau Icefield.

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