American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Glacier Studies

  • Notes
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1934

Glacier Studies

Travelers visiting mountains where glaciers occur have an opportunity of making valuable observations of these glaciers. One of the principal problems to determine is whether the glacier is experiencing a period of expansion or contraction. The best way to accomplish this is to make detailed observations and careful measurements, supplemented by a series of photographs. However, if circumstances make it impossible to do this, very valuable data can still be recorded by simply taking a series of photographs showing, (a) the condition of the ice surface, (b) the marginal areas, and (c) the exact position of the terminus with respect to certain nearby well-defined landmarks. The photographs are of greater significance if the exact points from which they are taken are marked and described, so that more may be taken from the same positions in future years. Such photographs, although requiring little time or effort, are likely to prove of great value in the study of the glaciers of that particular district, as well as the broader aspects of existing glaciation throughout the continent or even the world. It is hoped, therefore, that mountaineers will keep this in mind when planning a visit to regions where glaciers occur, and before undertaking such a trip, will familiarize themselves with the fundamentals of glacial research.

For general information on the subject, or suggestions with regard to the study of glaciers in United States territory, it would be advisable to communicate with Dr. Francois E. Matthes, United States Geological Survey, Washington, D. C., chairman of the Committee on Glaciers of the American Geophysical Union. If any studies of glaciers in Canadian territory is contemplated, one should communicate with Mr. A. O. Wheeler, chairman of the Glacial Section, Alpine Club of Canada, Banff, in order that any new observations may be made in accordance with the systematic study now being undertaken by that group.

The observations and photographs obtained should be correlated and then made available to all students of the problem.

To this end, it is suggested that all data be sent to Dr. Matthes so that the material may he properly filed and published in the Transactions of the American Geophysical Union as well as by the “Commission des Glaciers” in Europe. Material on glaciers of Canada should be sent to Mr. Wheeler.

It is anticipated that the American Alpine Journal will publish brief notes on the glacier studies made from year to year in the United States and Alaska, with special emphasis on the work done by members of the American Alpine Club. Complete reports when available will be placed on file in the Club library.

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