We are wrapping up a 4-year NSF-sponsored project studying icy debris fans in alpine regions of Alaska and New Zealand. The fans are exceedingly dynamic landforms along steep bedrock slopes on the edges of valley glaciers. Icy debris fans are created by ice avalanches, debris flows, slush flows, and rockfalls from high-level icecaps. A portion of this study involves documenting, mapping, and measuring these events as they are deposited on the fans. Events are captured on time-lapse photos, identified, and mapped. Our database involves several variables, including: 1) date of event, 2) event type (avalanche, debris flow, etc), and 3) size of the deposit (area and volume). This study is the first to recognize these landforms which are becoming increasingly common as the climate warms. In many areas these processes represent the majority of ice inputs into the annual budget of valley glaciers which have become detached from icecaps.
The primary goal is to develop a dynamic data visualization of the depositional activity on several icy debris fans in Alaska and New Zealand. The results of this project would be a highlighted section of the website summarizing our research. There is an increasing need to develop exciting ways to help the public visualize and understand scientific research. This project would like field observations (here made by remote time-lapse cameras) with graphical representation of the data in a way that would allow the viewer to see dynamic changes in the three variables with time.
There would be several likely impacts: 1) This would be a highlight feature on an NSF website conveying data on active processes and ice budgets of glaciers in areas where they are rapidly deteriorating; 2) The data visualization would likely stimulate interest of the public at large and especially at three national parks in New Zealand and Alaska; 3) The techniques developed would provide a template for similar conveyance and merge of field or laboratory observations with graphic representation of data in a visual and dynamic way.
The project team would have access to our files of time-lapse images, videos made from the time-lapse imagery, and excel databases of event times, event type, and event size mapped from the images. The team would also have access to other data we have collected if desired, including: 1) thousands of images, 2) field videos from helicopter, drone, and on-ground of the locations and extreme events caught in action, 3) ground-penetrating radar; and 4) extensive 3-D digital surveys of the field sites constructed from Terrestrial Laser Scanning/LiDAR surveys.
NOTE: Non-disclosure agreement (NDA) required!
That would depend on the team. None from our perspective. The NDA indicated above would simply be not making the information public until we do so and publish the data in papers which are currently in preparation.
Point of Contact
R. Craig Kochel
Geology and Environmental Geosciences
kochel <at> bucknell.edu