Conference symposium highlights latest in Glacier Seismology

posted in: Research | 0

At the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics meeting in Montreal, Canada, Bartholomaus co-convened and presented during a symposium on Glacier Seismology. The well-attended symposium featured talks from authors around the world on topics as diverse as ice shelves, basal sliding, and avalanches. Bartholomaus presented his most recent work on the use of seismology to reveal the workings of the subglacial hydrologic system of Lemon Creek Glacier, Alaska.

Bartholomaus-mentored Ph.D. student wins Early Career Award for outstanding paper

Denis Felikson has been awarded the 2019 Early Career Award by the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences. Tim Bartholomaus had the privilege of working with Denis while the two of them were at the University of Texas in Austin, and worked with Ginny Catania. During that time, Denis published a paper with Bartholomaus that demonstrated how glacier geometry in Greenland controls the spatial pattern of ice loss from the ice sheet. Denis is now a postdoc at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Congratulations, Denis! The citation is found here.

Ph.D. opportunity in Greenland tidewater glacier dynamics

The Glaciers Dynamics lab at the University of Idaho seeks a curious, hard-working, quantitatively-oriented Ph.D. student to study tidewater glacier dynamics around the Greenland Ice Sheet.  Following Saturday’s successful launch of ICESat-2, the successful applicant will draw on the satellite’s high spatial- and temporal-resolution elevation data to understand outlet glacier change.  Potential research targets include iceberg calving, ice-ocean interactions, crevassing, and glacier bed coupling.  The successful applicant will contribute to a NASA-funded project, co-led with Dr. Ginny Catania of the University of Texas, and will begin with at least three years of salary and tuition support as a research assistant.

Highly motivated candidates with backgrounds in geophysics, earth science, physics, mathematics, engineering, or other quantitative fields are encouraged to apply.  Programming experience with Python, R, Matlab, or similar is regarded well.  Our group values the diverse backgrounds of our members, and individuals identifying with groups underrepresented in the Earth Sciences are especially encouraged to apply.  Student support is available starting January 1, 2019, for which applicants are encouraged to apply by October 1, 2018.  However, start dates later in 2019 are possible, with later application deadlines.

The University of Idaho, in Moscow, ID, is located in the northern panhandle of Idaho, in the picturesque, vibrant, walkable, small town of Moscow (population of 25,000;  UI has an enrollment of 12,000 students and is the state’s flagship research university.  Moscow features access to the mountains and rivers of the northern Rockies and a low cost of living.  Additional information about our group can be found at  Information about the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Idaho, including how to apply, is here:  To learn more, please send a CV and short expression of interest to

And finally, congratulations to the NASA ICESat-2 team on their successful launch over the weekend!  (

Image credit: NASA


Student researchers advance understanding of iceberg calving

posted in: Greenland, Research | 0

Thanks to the hardworking team of student researchers who worked together over the summer on our NASA-funded project to understand iceberg calving around the Greenland Ice Sheet.  Undergraduate researchers Danny Bugingo and Rian Brumfield worked with M.S. candidate Tristan Amaral to compile and process the remote sensing imagery necessary to test and validate “calving laws.”  These calving laws represent the numerical rules applied in ice sheet models to define the terminus boundary of glaciers that flow directly into the ocean.  As such, evaluating their performance and selecting the best calving laws for inclusion in ice sheet models is a critical component of accurate forecasts of future ice sheet change.  This project represents the focus of Tristan’s M.S. research.

PhD student opp. to study calving in Greenland

The glacier dynamics group at the University of Idaho seeks a Ph.D. student to pursue research into the factors controlling iceberg calving around the Greenland Ice Sheet.  This NSF funded project, with Co-PI Dr. Ellyn Enderlin of UMaine, will draw on a wide variety of remotely sensed imagery, oceanographic data, and timelapse photography to evaluate terminus boundary conditions (calving laws) used by ice flow models.  These calving laws predict terminus positions and calving rates (formally: “frontal ablation rates”) around the ice sheet.  Increases in calving and submarine melt rates at the marine termini of Greenland’s tidewater outlet glaciers lead to the most rapid rates of ice loss from around the ice sheet, and therefore to acceleration in the rate of sea level rise.  Outcomes from this project will include: 1) New, mechanistic understanding of the drivers of terminus ice loss in the diversity of settings around Greenland; and 2) Model improvements in the handling of calving, thus directly leading to improved predictions of ice sheet change and sea level rise.

The successful applicant will join a growing lab group with two other graduate students in fall 2018, including a masters student working on a portion of this calving law project.  Collaboration with this student and Dr. Enderlin, and support from others in the group, provides a rich and varied research experience.  The student would additionally work towards completion of a Ph.D. within the Dept. of Geological Sciences at the Univ. of Idaho, a group of researchers with strong backgrounds in geophysics, climate change, remote sensing, numerical modeling, and statistics.  The University’s location in Moscow, ID, adjacent to the northern rockies, is an exciting and diverse geologic region with ample opportunities for diverse outdoor recreation.

This position includes two years of financial, educational, and benefits support through a research assistantship, with subsequent years of support through teaching assistantships.  Ph.D. student applicants with backgrounds in programming (python, matlab, r, etc.), geographic data analysis, and strong quantitative skills are preferred.

Expressions of interest are requested by Friday, March 2nd.  Please email a short statement of interest, a CV, and transcripts (unofficial is fine) to Dr. Timothy Bartholomaus.  Additional information about the group and the graduate school application process is available at this link and this link.  Following the statement of interest, complete applications for this opportunity should be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies prior to the project-specific deadline of March 9th.

Glaciology student wins college-wide award

posted in: Outreach, Research, Teaching | 0

Congratulations to Margot Vore for winning the “Outstanding Research Poster” award at the annual UIdaho College of Science student research fair!  Margot’s presentation was obviously very well received by all who stopped at her poster during the October 27 event.

Enthusiasts of glaciohydraulic tremor who missed the research fair can catch the latest at Margot’s oral presentation in the cryoseismology session at AGU this December, in New Orleans.  Bravo!

Margot receives her award from College of Science Dean Ginger Carney
Margot receives her award from College of Science Dean Ginger Carney

Research group presents at Northwest Glaciologists in Vancouver, BC

The UI Glacier Dynamics Group traveled to the annual meeting of Northwest Glaciologists in mid-October to present their latest research and share ideas with other regional glaciologists.  Univ. of Idaho grad students Margot Vore and Tristan Amaral made excellent presentations of their latest work.  Colleagues at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University were wonderful hosts, and Vancouver, BC, treated us to glorious weather.  We’re looking forward to future years of this favorite gathering of the minds.

Margot Vore presents her research on the seismic signals produced by subglacial water flow.
Margot Vore presents her research on the seismic signals produced by subglacial water flow.

Seismometers, GPS recovered from Alaskan glacier

posted in: Field work, Research | 0

In September, UI grad student Tristan Amaral, Juneau local Mary Gianotti, and I traveled up to the Lemon Creek Glacier to recover seismic and other equipment set up at the end of June.  The seismometers, GPS receivers and pressure gauge we’d installed will help us to better understand the evolution of subglacial hydrologic systems, and their impact on glacier flow.  This work was made possible with a University of Idaho seed grant.

This fieldwork also represented the first deployment of new seismometers owned by the University of Idaho Glacier Dynamics Group, and so was a valuable test of the sensors, and their in-house constructed enclosures and power systems.  I’m happy to report that data recovery was very nearly 100% and that our station enclosures kept everything dry.  With the hard work, positive attitudes and safety consciousness of our field team, we recovered all of the sensors that had been left out, with the additional help of a little skillful helicopter piloting.  This success was in spite of the 4.2 meters of snow and ice melt that had occurred since installation, and weather at the beginning of our field time that left us rather soggy.  I’m looking forward to digging deeply into the data collected, and collaboration with our partners on this project at the University of Alaska Southeast, Caltech, and the University of Grenoble.

Welcoming new graduate student Tristan Amaral

The Glacier Dynamics lab at UIdaho welcomes Tristan Amaral this semester.  Tristan will be working on a NASA and NSF-funded project to examine the controls on calving around the Greenland Ice Sheet.  He comes to us after graduating Summa Cum Laude from the University of New Hampshire, a published paper behind him, and experience working for the Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP).  We’re happy to have him in Moscow!

New papers on glacier thinning, form of MSGLs, and subglacial discharge plumes

posted in: Publications, Research | 0

Several new papers published this summer exemplify the diversity of our research group’s interests and methodologies.  Thanks to the outstanding scientists and co-authors who led these efforts: Denis Felikson, Rebecca Jackson, and Matteo Spagnolo.

The first of these, published in Nature Geoscience, uses analytical analysis of glacier flow to explain the extent of inland thinning in Greenland.  This work received a variety of media coverage in the scientific and popular press, including on Boise State Public Radio and a regional newspaper, the Inlander.

The second, in Geophysical Research Letters, draws on observations of buoyant freshwater plumes in glacierized fjords and assesses their relationship to the subglacial discharge that drives them.

The third, in the Journal of Geophysical Research, uses two dimensional spectral analysis to reveal the ice stream produced bedforms consist of multiple, distinct, wavelength peaks.  These peaks coarsen down flow and are consistent with self-organizing processes.  This paper was selected as an Editor’s Highlight:

This paper reports the first application of the 2-dimensional discrete Fourier transform method to describing and analyzing the orientation-specific roughness elements of mega-scale glacial lineations (MSGL). Applying the technique to several case study examples reveals characteristic, orientation-specific roughness scales that guide process-related inferences on MSGL formation and evolution.



A figure from Spagnolo et al., 2017 shows the dominant wavelengths of mega-scale glacial lineations and their downstream variation.