Háskóli Íslands

Glaciology JARD609G - Field excursion 2013

Ablation measurements on Sólheimajökull, an outlet glacier of Mýrdalsjökull 12 May 2013

As a part of the course in glaciology the student started ablation measurements on 3 locations at the snout of Sólheimajökull.  We expected considerable ablation during the summer and it is interesting to be able to quantify the ablation during the summer.  We got assistance from the Icelandic Mountainguides (http://www.mountainguides.is/), they lent the whole group crampons and ice axes and guided us up to the measurement locations.

The group walking towards the ablation measurement stakes (photo Louise Sandberg Sørensen)

The group carried a steam drill (a big pressure cooker) that was used to drill 10-12 m deep holes in the surface.  A wire was then lowered into the hole and the length of the wire on the surface measured.  During the summer the length was measured a few times and the amount of ablation measured (photo Louise Sandberg Sørensen).

Preparing the steam drill for drilling. We filled the tank with water collected on the surface of the glacier and heated it to boiling point and by cooking it for some time the pressure in the tank was increased until it was high enough to drill to about 10 m depth with the water (photo Louise Sandberg Sørensen).

The drill is ready and with boiling water at high pressure it is possible to melt a hole in the ice (photo Louise Sandberg Sørensen).

Students taking turns drilling the hole (photo Louise Sandberg Sørensen).

When the hole is ready a wire is lowered into the whole with a weight at the end and on the other end the wire is tied to a stake that is left on the surface during the summer (photo Louise Sandberg Sørensen).

 

Walking back down to the bus (photo Louise Sandberg Sørensen).

The first measurement was done 12.5.2013

 

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