Department

Environmental Health & Safety

First Advisor

Jacki Klancher

Description

Over 80 glaciers reside in the state of Wyoming. The Wind River Range, located in the west-central region of the state, is home to a majority of these frozen reservoirs. As the word “reservoir” suggests, these contribute a significant amount of water to summer and early-fall streamflow. The meltwater from Wyoming’s alpine glaciers is critical during the dry months when the snows have melted and precipitation is rare. Previous studies regarding glaciers in the Wind River Range indicate an overall trend of recession since 1850, with only localized periods of growth. One study analyzed surface area change for 42 glaciers in the Wind River Range from 1985 to 2005, indicating significant reductions. Due to the relationship between alpine glaciers and water availability, it is critical to monitor the health of these glaciers and analyze their rate of recession. This study sought to determine changes in ice depth of the Dinwoody glacier (at the base of Gannet Peak) in the Wind River Range. Using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) (S&S Noggin 100MHz), the team collected subsurface data along a 1500m transect of the glacier. Results were compared to two previous studies conducted in 1991, and 2006. Data correlation with previous studies revealed a continuing trend of recession over the past three decades. These findings may affect current understanding of glacial recession rates in the Wind River Range, and expand knowledge of the role of portable 100MHZ GPR antennae for remote alpine glacier studies.

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An Analysis of Ice Depth on the Dinwoody Glacier Using Ground Penetrating Radar

Over 80 glaciers reside in the state of Wyoming. The Wind River Range, located in the west-central region of the state, is home to a majority of these frozen reservoirs. As the word “reservoir” suggests, these contribute a significant amount of water to summer and early-fall streamflow. The meltwater from Wyoming’s alpine glaciers is critical during the dry months when the snows have melted and precipitation is rare. Previous studies regarding glaciers in the Wind River Range indicate an overall trend of recession since 1850, with only localized periods of growth. One study analyzed surface area change for 42 glaciers in the Wind River Range from 1985 to 2005, indicating significant reductions. Due to the relationship between alpine glaciers and water availability, it is critical to monitor the health of these glaciers and analyze their rate of recession. This study sought to determine changes in ice depth of the Dinwoody glacier (at the base of Gannet Peak) in the Wind River Range. Using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) (S&S Noggin 100MHz), the team collected subsurface data along a 1500m transect of the glacier. Results were compared to two previous studies conducted in 1991, and 2006. Data correlation with previous studies revealed a continuing trend of recession over the past three decades. These findings may affect current understanding of glacial recession rates in the Wind River Range, and expand knowledge of the role of portable 100MHZ GPR antennae for remote alpine glacier studies.