The take-home final exam is scheduled for Dec. 7-10th. It may be put online Dec. 6 to give students a head start. The exam will focus on material from the second half of the course.
Logan Smith: Greenland ice sheet today: 2015 melt season in review.
At this point, student contributions for the blog come to an end.
Note: No on-campus class meeting next week. However, your instructor will be available on campus, as usual, for consultation. Graduate webpages and undergrad short projects are due by Tuesday, Nov. 24th.
From Jim DeCinque: Historic glacier reports for Mt. Rainer, Rocky Mtn. and Yosemite National Parks. Interesting reading and photos.
From William Jacobson (former grad student): I'm sitting at the kitchen table finishing up my revisions to my dissertation. I just defended my Ph.D. dissertation yesterday and I passed. Hooray! Here is a link for my research work at Flaajokull, Iceland.
From Logan Smith: A brief glaciation history of Finland.
|Group photo (left) at the large quartzite conglomerate boulder displayed in Wamego city park. This erratic was derived most likely from the lower conglomerate bed of the Sioux Quartzite in the southwestern corner of Minnesota. Road sign (right) in eastern Wabaunsee County; we collected erratics nearby.|
Tomorrow we wrap up regional glaciation with a look at late Holocene and modern glaciers in Iceland. This serves as a model for larger Pleistocene continental ice sheets including the glaciation of Kansas. Then we move on to late Pleistocene megafauna extinctions. See also ice_lec 7 and 18 pdf files as well as clovis.pdf and monte_verde.pdf.
Thanksgiving break is just a couple weeks away. Undergrad short reports and graduate webpages are due before Thanksgiving. Contact your instructor with your potential topics.
From Jan Mangerud (INQUA colleague): We recently published DATED-project reconstructions of the extent of the Eurasian ice sheets at 1000 years steps during build-up and deglaciation. We paid the journal Boreas for open-access, so you can down-load the paper freely. Go to Eurasian ice sheets reconstruction.
Field trip: Meet in the campus north parking lot next to practice athletic field for departure at 8 o'clock, Saturday, November 7. Bring your lunch, and wear appropriate clothing and shoes/boots for walking in prairie. Also bring notebook, camera, collecting bags, hand lens, etc. We hope to find a good selection of glacial erratics and view typical landforms along the margin of glaciation in Wabaunsee and Shawnee counties. Our return to campus should be 5-6 pm.
Long-range weather forecast calls for cool, sunny conditions with high temp ~60 F. In case of bad weather Saturday, then Sunday will be the backup day for the trip. Note: All students in Kansas are expected to participate.
From Rob Rice: More glacial news. Glacial retreat/proglacial lake expansion in China.
From Corey Miller: I recently read a book entitled "These Fragile Outposts" and thought other students in this course might be interested in reading. It was published in 1964, but goes into great detail about the geology of Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard. There are some excellent examples, maps, and images showing how glaciation affected the region. Here is a link to the book at Amazon. It is also cheap to purchase (~$3)!
Reminder: our class field trip will take place on Nov. 7th. All Kansas students are expected to participate.
From Colin Kraft: Scientists working on the Franz Josef Glacier have found a formula for the rate of glacial erosion as its proportional to the square of the glaciers speed. Go to glacier erosion.
Note: we will take a hiatus for student blog contributions for the remainder of fall-break week. Your instructor will be away from campus on a class field trip to Nebraska and South Dakota.
From Corey Miller: Here is a link to some great information on Quaternary geology in Pennsylvania. The introduction highlights some glacial terminology and mechanics; the specific Pennsylvania section can be found on pages 13 - 27 (with a great map of PA glacial deposits on page 15).
Our subject this week is climatic controls of glaciation. See also ice_lec12.pdf; grad students review abrupt.pdf and icehouse.pdf files. Enjoy the fall break!
|Left: view from the crest of the Culebra Range looking east toward West Spanish Peak. Right: looking from the east toward the crest of the Culebra Range. Two well-formed cirques (*) were the sources of small glaciers that built the moraine complex.|
|Numerous kettle holes are present within the moraine complex. Unnamed lake in deep kettle hole (left) with crest of the Culebra Range in the background. Lower Blue Lake (right). Kettle holes are separated by linear till ridges that may have been deposited as crevasse fills between blocks of stagnant/dead ice.|
|Typical till exposures within the forested moraine. The till is quite sandy and contains angular and partly rounded cobbles and boulders of red and gray sandstone derived from the Sangre de Cristo Formation. This till was deposited mainly by ablation (meltout), which led to washing away of most fine sediment.|
The question is, how could relatively small glaciers build such a large moraine? In the Austrian Alps, Reitner considered this problem and suggested several factors (see INQUA abstract). Many of these same factors apply to the Blue Lake-Bear Lake situation.
From Paul Johnston (professor emeritus): I recently visited Mt. Baker in the Cascades and saw various glacial and volcanic features. Here are a couple of pictures that show the tops of columnar jointing beveled off by glacial erosion. This is from a large groove on the side of a trough coming off Mt. Baker.
Note: your instructor will be away from campus Sept. 30 through Oct. 5th, conducting field work in Colorado. He will remain online for course email and assignments.
From Melissa Baccus: Simulation pictures showing if all the ice melted from National Geographic.
From Justin Abel: Although it does not discuss glacial melt, I thought this map on regional sea-level trends from the NOAA would be appropriate for this week's topic.
In preparation for regional glaciation and our field trip later in the semester, it's time to start background reading from Landscapes of the central Great Plains: Bird's-eye perspective. Review chapter 1 this week (cgp_chap01.pdf).
From Jim DeCinque: Interesting description of sea level changes impacted by Wisconsin glaciation along Virginia Continental Shelf. Also includes oil/gas, mineral exploration and governmental boundaries along the shelf margin.
Regarding the bonus opportunity (Sept. 1), the glacial term cirque is French refering to circus, specifically meaning ring or the circular shape of the glacial landform. Other commonly used terms include corrie (Scottish, pot or cauldron) and cwm (Welsh, valley). In Polish, kotly polodowcowe is a glacial pot—see, for example, Karkonosze in southwestern Poland (on the Czech border).
From Jim DeCinque: Six more distinctive glacial landforms.
From Justin Abel: Here's an interesting website which highlights President Obama's trip to Alaska.
From Alan Peterson: Glacial episodes have been linked to Ordovician–Silurian extinction events, but metal poisoning may have contributed to extinctions.
From Jim DeCinque: short video on how the Jakobshavn glacier moves. Instructor's note: good video, but pronunciation of "Jakobshavn" is really terrible. Approximate English version would be "Yakobshoun."
From Justin Abel: President Obama will rename Mt. McKinley, Denali, in advance of his trip to Alaska, over climate change. Go to name change.
Note: your instructor will be away from campus Sept. 2-7 conducting field work in Colorado. He will continue online/email contact, however. Have a good Labor Day!
Note: NASA Space Grant student positions are available immediately for the Science and Math Education Center (SMEC) and Peterson Planetarium. Check with Susie Aber (SH 177) for details.
Notice: on-campus students will meet in SH 110 beginning next week (Aug. 25).
Trailer for Glacial Balance, a new film about glaciers in the Andes Mountains.
From Colin Kraft: Scientists believe that Emperor penguins survived the most recent ice age nearly 16,000 years ago by taking refuge in the Ross Sea, an Antarctic body of water south of New Zealand. Go to penguins.
From Renee Wawczak: I've included a link to an article that describes a visualization of the shrinking of the Arctic ice cap, and is illustrated in a series of atlases developed by National Geographic cartographers using NASA and and NSIDC satellite data.
|INQUA post-meeting field trip on Quaternary volcanism of Kyushu island. Group picture with Kaimondake volcano in the background. Participants came from Japan, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, Austria, Germany, Ireland, United Kingdom, and the United States. Photo shared by Brent Alloway.|
|A plume of steam rises from a boiling lake in the crater of Nakadake (left), one of several central volcanoes in the Aso caldera. Ignimbrite (right) is a mix of lava and reworked clasts from an explosive eruption in which a large magma chamber drained and caldera collapsed.|
|Sakurajima active volcano overview (left) and close-up (right). Sakurajima was an island in Kagoshima Bay until the major 1914 eruption, when a lava flow connected it to Kyushu. The red structure is designed to slow down a landslide or lahar.|
|Geothermal energy at Yamagawa. High-temperature geothermal power plant (left). Following the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster of 2011, Japan has decided to put greater emphasis on solar, wind, and geothermal power sources. Former salt production (right), where boiling seawater was used to make salt (1944-64).|
|Reconstruction of thatch houses from the earliest Jomon culture at Uenohara (left). Dated by tephra to ~10,600 years ago. Excavation underway (right) in advance of highway construction. Site displays multiple tephras from Sakurajima as well as the Kikai-Akahoya ash (7,300 years old).|
|Oni-no-iwaya burial mound (left) surrounded by circular moat and wall dates from the sixth century AD. One of more than 300 mounds of various types and ages at Saitobaru. Stone-lined entrance (right) to the burial chamber. The passage is about 1 m high.|
Right: abstract of poster presentation.
|Left: Nagoya convention center. INQUA participants arriving for the opening ceremony. Right: commuter train crossing a bridge over a canal in the central city.|
|Left: eastern coast of Jutland, Denmark facing the Kattegat Sea. Low-energy environment displays intricate patterns in emergent and submerged sand bars, tidal pools, and related features. Right: island of Vormsi, Estonia facing the Baltic Sea. High-energy beach of limestone gravel mixed with glacial erratics. Photos © JSA & SWA.|
|Left: Little River and Laudholm beach on the Atlantic coast of Maine. River meanders and salt-marsh are protected behind the barrier beach. Right: Point Piedras Blancas along the Big Sur coast of California. Juvenile northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) are resting on a bed of seaweed. Most of 2-2.5 m long.|
After the congress, we will go on a field trip to view active volcanoes in the southern island of Kyushu. See post-congress excursions—scroll down to PO-13.
Note: internet connection and email contact may be sporatic during the period July 25 to August 12, but I will attempt to put some pictures on the blog from the congress and field trip.
|Left: Jet Tilton demonstrates a stone polygon on Trinchera Peak at ~13,500 altitude. Right: stone stripes and festoons on the flank of the Culebra Range at ~12,900 feet. Old jeep track to right for scale.|
The soil temperature project was initiated by grad student Jon Vopata (see ESRS article) and continued by April Courtney and Lindsey Gerber. Data loggers are buried about half a meter deep and remain in the ground for two-year intervals.
|Left: preparing to place a soil-temperature data logger (in plastic bag) in the ground. Right: Lindsey Gerber recovers a soil-temperature data logger in 2013 that had been in the ground for two years on the crest of the Culebra Range (~12,900 feet).|
This summer was again time to recover data loggers, download their temperature records, reset the loggers, and place them in the ground for two more years. The spring and early summer of 2015 were unusually wet across the southern Rocky Mountains and Great Plains regions. Colorado, in fact, experienced its wettest May since records began in 1895 (see statewide precipitation). Considerable snow banks still existed in the alpine zone when we visited in early July. Fog, rain, and sleet driven by gale-force wind made for cold field conditions—typical summer in the alpine environment.
|Left: fog drifts over the crest of the Culebra Range. A soil-temperature data logger is buried on the knob at ~12,900 feet altitude. Right: S.W. Aber stands by a snow bank close to the data logger site, as fog blows just overhead.|
|Left: overview of cirque at the head of the Cucharas Creek valley with West Spanish Peak in the background. Asterisk (*) indicates the position of the soil-temperature data logger at ~12,200 feet altitude. Right: stone monument (lower right) marks position of buried soil-temperature data logger with Trinchera Peak in the background.|
|In spite of harsh conditions and a short growing season, life proliferates in the summer alpine zone. Tiny flowers bloom from small cushion plants (left), and many animals come to the high altitude. A white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) guards a nest in the bush below (right).|
|This site is located in a small cirque on the eastern flank of Trinchera Peak. Ground freezing took place in early to mid November, and the soil remained frozen until early June—nearly seven months. Max soil temperature was 9.4 °C on Aug. 7, 2013, and the minimum was -7.3 °C on Jan. 6, 2014. The summer-winter temperature range for 2013-14 appears to be slightly greater than for 2014-15.|
|This site is located at the crest of the Culebra Range adjacent to a small area of stone circles on the ridge top. Ground freezing took place in early to mid November, and the soil remained frozen until mid to late June—slightly more than seven months. Max soil temperature was 7.8 °C on Sept. 9, 2013, and the minimum was -6.3 °C on Jan. 25, 2015. This site is higher and more exposed than the previous site, and summer temperatures are cooler, as expected, but winters are not as cold.|
Our last day in the alpine zone was sunny, although still windy. Wind is, in fact, the main limiting factor for plant growth above treeline. We established a third, new site for measuring soil temperature on an end moraine in the upper portion of the Cucharas Creek valley at ~12,000 feet altitude.
|Left: end moraine in the upper Cucharas Creek valley with West Spanish Peak in the right background. Asterisk (*) shows site of soil-temperature data logger. Right: stone monument (left, orange trowel) marks the location of the soil-temperature data logger. Two GPS units in foreground used to determine site location, and Trinchera Peak appears in the background. All photos © J.S. Aber.|
Beginning in August, students should consult this blog frequently for course activities, notes, announcements, and reminders. Please contact the instructor with any comments or questions about the course.