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Glacial Geomorphology Spring, 2009

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  1. Glacial GeomorphologySpring, 2009 Prof. W. W. Locke 223/224 Traphagen wlocke@montana.edu; 994-6918

  2. So why study glacial geology? • Uniformitarian • Variable • Local ̶› global • Applied physics • Modern analogs • Processes • Modeling

  3. Himalaya's Receding Glaciers Suffer Neglect (from the “Christian Science Monitor” 1/3/07) • NEW DELHI - Billions of people in China and the Indian subcontinent rely on South Asia's Himalayan glaciers - the world's largest store of fresh water outside the polar ice caps. The massive ice floes feed seven of the world's greatest Asian rivers in one of the world's most densely populated regions. • Yet as global climate change slowly melts glaciers from Africa to the Andes, scientists say the glaciers in the Himalayas are retreating at a rate of about 33 to 49 ft each year – faster than in any other part of the world. The Gangotri Glacier – one of India's largest, a mass of ice about 18 mi long – is retreating at a rate of more than 100 ft a year.

  4. An Intro to Glacial Geology • Glacial Geology as a Science • Glaciology • The study of ice as a material • Glacial Geology • The study of ice as an agent of change • Quaternary Geology • The study of the last ~2 million years

  5. A History of Glacial Geology • 1779 – H. B. de Saussure – erratic boulders • 1795 – J. Hutton – glacial erratics • 1821 – I. Venetz-Sitten – former expanded ice • 1837 – L. Agassiz – “a great ice period” • 1841 – C. Maclaren – eustatic sea level change • 1865 – T. F. Jamieson – isostatic deformation • 1871 – G. K. Gilbert – ice sheet moraines • 1890 – G. K. Gilbert – pluvial lake Bonneville

  6. Further Evolution of Glacial Theory • 1932(65) – J H. Bretz – the Channeled Scablands • 1947 (-57, -70) – R. F. Flint – Glacial Geology • 1952 – J. F. Nye – mechanics of glacier flow • 1968 – J. T. Andrews – postglacial uplift, Canada • 1968 – G. S. Boulton – deformation tills • 1969 – W. S. B. Paterson – The Physics of Glaciers • 1981 – Denton & Hughes – The Last Great Ice Sheets

  7. The Elements of Glaciology • Glaciers as a system • Energy budget (balance?) • Mass budget (balance?) • Glaciers as a material • Glacier flow • Albedo, etc. • Glaciers as climate indicators • Snowlines • Glaciation threshold, firn line, ELA

  8. The Elements of Glacial Geology • Glacial Erosion • Plucking, abrasion • Glacial Transport • Glacial Deposition • Lodgment, melt-out • Meltwater • Proglacial Geology • Paraglacial Geology

  9. Elements of Quaternary Geology • Quaternary Stratigraphy • Glacial events • δ18O in ocean sediments • Pollen, foraminifera • Ice core records • Fossil records… • Quaternary climates • Glacier  climate feedbacks

  10. Elements of This Course • Readings • Class (Tu, Th) – • questions, discussion • minimal lecture ? • Lab (M) (30%) • Hour Exam (15%) • Student projects/presentations (15%) • Final Exam (30%) • Field Trip

  11. What Will You Learn? • Very little of applied value! • Application of principles • Context for surficial studies • “Natural Art Appreciation”

  12. Resources • Syllabus • Department • Course Matrix • Prof. Locke • Glacial Geology • Glacial Geology • PowerPoints • From campus: in the MSU domain; \\opal\glacial • Must be registered in the course • From off-campus: set up VPN?