The Ice Flux and Dynamics of Taku Glacier

des Instituts für Geodäsie

Heft 50/1997

The Ice Flux and Dynamics of Taku Glacier,
Juneau Icefield, Alaska


In: WELSCH, Walter M. / LANG, Martin / MILLER, Maynard M. (Hrsg.) [1997]:
Geodetic Activities Juneau Icefield, Alaska, 1981-1996.
Schriftenreihe des Studiengangs Vermessungswesen der Universität der Bundeswehr München, Heft 50, Neubiberg, S. 61-72.


The flux of the whole Taku Glacier System was established and the importance of the individual tributary glaciers to the dynamics of the Main Taku Glacier was revealed. All major tributary glaciers except the SW-Branch contribute substantially to the Main Glacier, whereby all the ice of the Demorest Glacier flows into the Hole-in-the-Wall-Glacier and the Main Taku terminus is formed solely by ice of the Matthes Glacier. The Matthes Glacier is the only real tidewater glacier of the Taku Glacier System. Its fluctuations influence all the other glaciers of the Taku System, which imposes the characteristic advance - retreat cycle also on them.

The comparison of balance flux and actual flux near the ELA (Profile II) results in a mean yearly ice thickness inc´rease of 0.235 m/a (Table 4) in the accumulation area. This is in good agreement with measured ice level rises over the last 45 years in the accumulation area by FRIEDMANN [1996] and LANG [1993]. The whole Taku Glacier System has an ice volume exceeding 300 km³ [FRIEDMANN, 1996].

The ablation rates in the ablation area might have increased over the last years and the glacier probably eroded fjord sediments which leads to „hidden” ice thickness growth as porposed by MOTKYA [1995]. The results of the flux calculations show the Taku Glacier System as a dynamic tidewater glacier in its advance phase with a balance flux higher than the actual flux resulting in net ice volume increase over the whole glacier length.


FRIEDMANN, A. [1996]: Das Taku-Gletschersystem (Juneau Icefield, Alaska): Seine Dynamik und Fluktuationen. Univ.-Diss. 1995. Freiburger Geographische Hefte, Heft 50. Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Institut für Physische Geographie, Freiburg, 148 S.

LANG, M. [1993]: Report on the Geodetic Activities during the 1993 Juneau Icefield Research Program Field Season. JIRP Survey Report, 1993. Juneau Icefield Research Program, Foundation for Glacial and Environmental Research, Juneau, Bundeswehr University Munich, Germany.

MOTKYA, R. J. [1995]: Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveysa, Fairbanks, Alaska, 99775-7320, USA. Personal communication.


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