Mapping Oregon's Glaciers

To Oregon now, where a group of climbers, cavers and explorers are studying mountains. The group is trying to learn more about glacial caves, by exploring how much they move over time.

A glacier is a large body of ice that moves slowly down a slope or valley or spreads outward on a land surface. The team hopes to find out more about the science of glaciers by mapping and studying ice caves, from the inside out.

To find out more, we head to the Pacific Northwest -- and meet the glacier cave explorers.


GLACIERS IN OREGON?
"A lot of the mountains in Oregon like the ones right nearby the Three Sisters, are glaciated, they have small glaciers on them."
WHO KNEW!
FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS, EDDY CARTAYA, BRENT MCGREGOR, AND CRAIG MCCLURE HAVE BEEN PART OF A TEAM TRAVERSING OREGON GLACIERS ON MT. RANIER, MT ST. HELENS AND MT. HOOD, TO STUDY THEIR MELTING.
"The big value is in mapping change. Not just a snap shot in time but mapping the change."
THE CREW MAPS THIS CHANGE BY TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS EACH YEAR.
"A lot of the ice is melting away very quickly whether on the polar caps, the glaicer caves, not only on our three mountains of interest, but around the world we are seeing a lot of loss of ice."
TO MAP THIS CHANGE, EXPLORERS STUDY GLACIER CAVES AND TRACK THEIR SIZE EACH YEAR.  
MAPPING THIS CHANGE HOLDS A GREAT DEAL OF IMPORTANCE HERE IN CENTRAL OREGON.
"Glacier ice packs of the pacific northwest provide watersheds for all our local communities so when those go away our water sheds have serious problems."
"All the gear you see here is vital for the exploreres to make sure they record their data, but also to make sure that they're safe while on their expeditions."
TRYING SAYING THIS TEN TIMES FAST...
"Ultrasonic anamometer."
TOOLS LIKE THE ULTRASONIC ANAMOMETER, MEASURES WINDFLOW IN THREE DIMENSIONS TO HELP TRACK HOW THE WINDS TREND INSIDE THE CAVES.
BUT SOMETIMES ACCIDENTS HAPPEN WHILE CLIMBING... WHICH IS WHY GEAR LIKE THIS...
"Its an SCVA unit self contained breathing. Where they're going to do the survey's is inside a glacial save on top of a volcano. And sometimes volcanoes can spit noxious deadly gas."
AND LIKE THIS...
"It wraps around and provides spinal emobilization. And then you suck the air out and it provides rigidity and support."
IS SO IMPORTANT.
AT THE END OF THE DAY... A THOUSAND POUNDS OF GEAR ARE LOUDED UP AND BROUGHT UP TO A HEIGHT OF OVER THREE MILES, WHILE RESEARCHERS STUDY MELTING FOR TWO WEEKS UNDER A GLACIER ON TOP.... OF AN ACTIVE VOLCANO.

Instructional Links

Website Article: National Snow and Ice Data Center, All About Glaciers https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/glaciers/questions/what.html

Website Article: EcoCanada, Career Profiles, Glaciologist https://www.eco.ca/career-profiles/glaciologist/

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