Two, new, funded Ph.D. opportunities for 2021!

posted in: Alaska, Research, Teaching | 0

The Univ. of Idaho Glacier Dynamics lab is very pleased to announce two new opportunities for prospective Ph.D. students, to start Fall 2021, or potentially earlier.

To understand water flow through and beneath glaciers, and the effect of this water on glacier dynamics, these two Ph.D. students will work with seismic and other geophysical data to meet the goals of NSF- and NASA-funded projects in Alaska. The two projects, Spring melt and basal slip at Wolverine Glacier and Basal slip during a Turner Glacier surge, are described below. Both projects offer significant opportunities for field work, although field work is not required. While applicants for the Ph.D. are preferred, strong M.S. applicants will be considered. You can learn more about the University of Idaho graduate program, research, and life in Moscow, Idaho here.

If you are interested in joining our group to work on these projects, you may send an email with CV to Tim Bartholomaus (address at the bottom) expressing your interest. Applicants should have strong quantitative skills, enthusiasm for scientific computing and geophysics, and a commitment to challenging oneself and learning through the process. Applications to the Ph.D. program at the University of Idaho should be received by January 15th for full consideration.

Spring melt and basal slip at Wolverine Glacier

During the winter, glaciers are covered with a blanket of snow that melts in part or in whole during the summer. As the winter snowpack melts, meltwater must percolate through an initially dry, cold snowpack. This snowpack delays the delivery of meltwater from the glacier surface to the glacier bed and potentially enables a stronger dynamic response to the meltwater once the snowpack saturates. Little is known about glacier hydrology during the winter-spring transition, or anytime outside of mid-summer. Without a more detailed understanding of the full range of glacier hydrology-dynamics coupling, estimates of future sea level rise will continue to suffer large uncertainties.

This project aims to reduce the significant gap in our understanding of glacier hydrology by studying the evolving winter-spring snowpack of Wolverine Glacier, a glacier with a long history of study in the Chugach Range of south-central Alaska. Inspired by coupled hydrologic and dynamic observations, this project will quantify and understand time lags between melt and dynamic effects, assess the relative contributions of runoff and densification to changing snowpack thickness, and produce more complete models of glacier hydrology and dynamics. The student will work with unprecedented data to study the temperature and water pressure evolution within the spring snowpack, glacier motion, and seismic recordings of subglacial water flow. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to participate in field work, including in spring of 2021 and will also participate in science communication, outreach, and teacher training at the University of Idaho McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS). This project is funded by NASA and is part of a larger, multi-investigator, multi-grad student, effort in collaboration with Boise State University and the USGS in Alaska.

Basal slip during a Turner Glacier surge

The relationship between glacier hydrology, subglacial sediment, and glacier motion is poorly understood. Glaciologist’s understanding of the connection between basal slip and drag at the base of glaciers is a foundational gap in understanding of the physics of glaciers and ice sheets. As a result, models aimed at predicting glacier response to increased melt lack predictive capability. In part, this poor understanding results from the historical challenge of observing the subglacial environment over time and space scales, as subglacial hydrology, sediment, and basal slip change.

To meet this observational gap, the UI Glacier Dynamics lab began a project in August 2020 to study the incipient surge of Turner Glacier, in southeast Alaska. The new Ph.D. student will work with seismic data collected on and around the glacier to study water flow and storage beneath the glacier, and knit this seismic analysis with other geophysical datasets to unravel the connections between water, sediment and fast glacier flow. The successful applicant will be able to play a key role in future project field work, although field work is not necessary for the position. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation and represents a collaborative effort with Flavien Beaud at UI/UBC, and Ellyn Enderlin and Dyland Mikesell at Boise State University.

Read more about this exciting project in a previous post, or learn the latest about the project via Twitter.

The Turner Glacier field team lines up in August 2020. Missing: you?
Graduate students Margot Vore (Univ. of Idaho) and Celeste Labedz (Caltech) set up seismic equipment to track glacier hydrology and motion in 2017

Please be in touch about these great opportunities! It’s a wonderful time to join our lab.

Emma Swaninger defends M.S. thesis!

Master of Science candidate Emma Swaninger did a phenomenal job presenting and defending the results of her last two years of research. Among other findings, Emma demonstrated that near-terminus ice is likely weaker than typically expected, and that even thin, brief, mid-summer, ice melange can provide rigid support to a glacier terminus. Her presentation online was well-attended by colleagues, friends and family.

Congratulations, Emma, on a job well done! I was proud to be your advisor and am excited that you’ll be continuing your work at the University of Idaho by coordinating our introductory labs.

Chris Miele defends dissertation proposal, advances to Ph.D. candidate

posted in: Research, Teaching | 0

Ph.D. student Chris Miele, in the UI Glacier Dynamics lab, successfully defended his dissertation proposal today. His dissertation, titled “Transition zones in floating glacier ice in Greenland,” is focused around better understanding the dynamics and iceberg calving of marine terminating glaciers. To an audience of over 35 Zoom attendees, Chris did a great job presenting his work with both physical rigor and engaging humor. Chris subsequently passed his comprehensive exam, and advanced to Ph.D. candidacy.

Great work, Chris! Congratulations!

Thanks are also due to Chris’ advisory committee members, Dr. Ellyn Enderlin, Dr. Eric Mittelstaedt, and Dr. Gabriel Potirniche.

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


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

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!

Welcoming Margot Vore

posted in: Research, Teaching | 0

I’m excited to welcome Margot Vore to my glacier dynamics group at UI.  Margot will be working to better understand the flow of water through and under glaciers, through the analysis of seismic data.  She’ll be analyzing seismic data recorded in 2016 near the terminus of Taku Glacier, outside of Juneau, in Southeast Alaska.  Margot comes to UI from CU-Denver, where she completed her Bachelor of Science degree majoring in math, and minoring in environmental science.  We’re happy to have her here in Moscow!

Glacier Dynamics at the University of Idaho

This fall, I’ve moved to the University of Idaho to begin work as an Assistant Professor and expand my lab group.  I’ve begun working with a graduate student who will work with glaciohydraulic tremor data to better understand changes in subglacial hydrologic processes.  Moscow, ID, home to the university, is a great town and I’m looking forward to getting to know the community and landscape while I establish my research here.

Please get in touch if you’re interested in joining my glacier dynamics group as a grad student or postdoc, or otherwise collaborating.