Teaching glaciology on a glacier

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Last weekend, I had the great pleasure of spending time on the Kennicott Glacier with students from the Wrangell Mountains Center‘s environmental studies program.

While standing between streams of glacier meltwater, I lectured to our undergraduate students on the importance of liquid water on glacier motion, and how rapidly the link between hydrology and basal sliding can change.  Afterwards, we hiked up into the alpine tundra for an overview of Kennicott Glacier, Hidden Creek Lake, and Mt. Blackburn, the 5th tallest mountain in the US.  From that overlook, we discussed the 2008 Nature Geoscience paper that I published following fieldwork at this site.


I find this teaching to be great fun, and our students are consistently excited to learn about the spectacular landscape through which we’re traveling.  The gorgeous weather we enjoyed certainly didn’t hurt anything!  This was my 7th straight year of teaching in Alaska’s Wrangell Mountains.