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Fatland, D.R., 1998

Studies of Begley Icefield during surge and Black Rapids Glacier, Alaska, using spaceborne SAR interferometry

Bibliographic Reference

Fatland, D.R., 1998, Studies of Begley Icefield during surge and Black Rapids Glacier, Alaska, using spaceborne SAR interferometry: University of Alaska Fairbanks, Ph.D. dissertation, 97 p., illust. (some color), map.


This thesis presents studies of two temperate valley glaciers--Bering Glacier in the Chugach-St.Elias Mountains, South Central Alaska, and Black Rapids Glacier in the Alaska Range, Interior Alaska--using differential spaceborne radar interferometry. The first study was centered on the 1993-95 surge of Bering Glacier and the resultant ice dynamics on its accumulation area, the Bagley Icefield. The second study site was chosen for purposes of comparison of the interferometry results with conventional field measurements, particularly camera survey data and airborne laser altimetry. A comprehensive suite of software was written to interferometrically process synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data in order to derive estimates of surface elevation and surface velocity on these subject glaciers. In addition to these results, the data revealed unexpected but fairly common concentric rings called 'phase bull's-eyes', image features typically 0.5 to 4 km in diameter located over the central part of various glaciers. These bull's-eyes led to a hypothetical model in which they were interpreted to indicate transitory instances of high subglacial water pressure that locally lift the glacier from its bed by several centimeters. This model is associated with previous findings about the nature of glacier bed hydrology and glacier surging. In addition to the dynamical analysis presented herein, this work is submitted as a contribution to the ongoing development of spaceborne radar interferometry as a glaciological tool.

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