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drm
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PostSun May 19, 2019 11:17 am 
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National Geographic has a great graphic that shows both changes in extent and, more importantly, thickness, as measured by changes in the altitude of the surface. All glaciers over their entire extent are covered. I think the basic story is that high on the mountain, it is plenty cold and there is plenty of snow for those glaciers to survive a long time. But the lower altitude tips will be gone. Not surprisingly, Cowlitz, Nisqually, Wilson, and lower Carbon are suffering the most. But some areas appear to be thickening (upper Puyallup and Tahoma), including a few lowest tips. Maybe that indicates faster sliding in the short term?

I tried displaying the image here, but it didn't work. Maybe NetGeo wants folks to go to their website to see it.
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SwitchbackFisher
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PostSun May 19, 2019 2:52 pm 
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Thanks for posting, not much of a surprise that glaciers with southern exposure and lower elevation are going faster that the others. But there is a lot that can be learned from this. When I see something like this make wonder how it impacts other things Steelhead, how long until growth can begin where the glacier used to sit, and what growth may occur in the rocky areas left behind. I find it to be quite interesting.

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Brian R
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PostMon May 20, 2019 12:21 am 
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Great post and a good map.  I question the purple shading/data for the Carbon--especially the terminal mile or so. It's thinned--but over 300 feet? Hmmmm. Conversely, the healthy shading given the South Tahoma looks far too generous. It is the most visibly battered glacier on the mountain.

I've always wondered if a good portion of the destruction of Rainier's south-facing glaciers can be attributed to that soon-to-be closed, gawd awful coal fired power plant in Centralia and the 80 years of soot it has deposited on its downwind side.
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thunderhead
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PostMon May 20, 2019 9:01 am 
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It's thinned--but over 300 feet?

That does match well with the expected increase in freezing level due to global warming... which is in the ballpark of 300-400 vertical feet.  I would expect the snouts to behave pretty much in the same fashion as temp-level increase.
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drm
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PostMon May 20, 2019 8:10 pm 
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Well, interestingly, many other glaciers have a much smaller extent over the study period - they are much shorter. But not the Carbon, it doesn't seem to have lost any length since 1970. Maybe it just started a lot thicker and so the bottom still exists.

Another metric that could help understand all this is speed. A glacier that is sliding faster can move bulk down from the upper regions where there is still plenty of new snow adding on.
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Mikey
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PostTue May 21, 2019 8:11 am 
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This is a bit off-topic but core-samples of ice have been taken from nearly all mountains in the world except Mt Rainier.  I looked into this and it appears that the US Govt did not want ice cores taken from Mt Rainer because a chemical analysis of the core would show the ice core radioactive species and nearly all of these radioactive compounds came from the Hanford atomic works.  Once while hiking in the Goat Rocks area, there were 4 scientists from the US Govt taking samples of plants and animals for analyzing their radioactive content and they reminded us that the Goat Rocks area is only about 30 miles west of the Hanford atomic works. Later I did get permission from the Rainier National Park people for an UW grad student to take ice core samples from Mt Rainier but the UW grad student decided not to do this research project.
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SwitchbackFisher
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PostTue May 21, 2019 8:52 am 
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Mikey wrote:
This is a bit off-topic but core-samples of ice have been taken from nearly all mountains in the world except Mt Rainier.  I looked into this and it appears that the US Govt did not want ice cores taken from Mt Rainer because a chemical analysis of the core would show the ice core radioactive species and nearly all of these radioactive compounds came from the Hanford atomic works.  Once while hiking in the Goat Rocks area, there were 4 scientists from the US Govt taking samples of plants and animals for analyzing their radioactive content and they reminded us that the Goat Rocks area is only about 30 miles west of the Hanford atomic works. Later I did get permission from the Rainier National Park people for an UW grad student to take ice core samples from Mt Rainier but the UW grad student decided not to do this research project.

Interesting, but I don't have much knowledge of past practices, but can say the feds have currently got pretty good safety measures for this stuff in place now. 3 keys being time, shielding and distance. While the first does not apply to a glacier, there is an abundance of the other two and I would speculate Ranier and the Goat Rocks show no effects from Hanford.

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thunderhead
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PostTue May 21, 2019 9:07 am 
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But not the Carbon, it doesn't seem to have lost any length since 1970. Maybe it just started a lot thicker and so the bottom still exists. 

I think so.  It does seem to have lost a lot of depth at the snout so I think it's mass loss without length loss strongly suggests a previously thick snout that needs to melt a lot to retract a little.  Perhaps that is a fluke of steeper local terrain right at the snout.  Perhaps a bulge had moved down the glacier to the snout just before these observations started, making the baseline extraordinary deep?  Or maybe just because the carbon is so narrow and deep.

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the US Govt did not want ice cores taken from Mt Rainer because a chemical analysis of the core would show the ice core radioactive species and nearly all of these radioactive compounds came from the Hanford atomic works.

haha

interesting.
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thunderhead
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PostTue May 21, 2019 9:09 am 
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have currently got pretty good safety measures

I doubt safety was their concern.  Bet they wanted to keep the composition secret from the commies.
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MtnGoat
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PostTue May 21, 2019 2:28 pm 
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Good idea.

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Schroder
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PostTue May 21, 2019 2:57 pm 
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drm wrote:
But not the Carbon, it doesn't seem to have lost any length since 1970

Seriously? I climbed the Carbon in 1971 from the terminus and it appears to have receded at least a mile since then.
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Brian R
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PostTue May 21, 2019 5:42 pm 
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Seriously? I climbed the Carbon in 1971 from the terminus and it appears to have receded at least a mile since then.

Are you sure you aren't confusing the Carbon Glacier with the Nisqually? There is no "Carbon Glacier route" to the summit as its accumulation basin lies at the foot of Willis and Liberty Wall.  The Carbon Glacier terminus is pretty much where it's been for the last hundred years or more. The Nisqually, on the other hand, has receded dramatically.
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Schroder
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PostWed May 22, 2019 1:25 pm 
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Brian R wrote:
There is no "Carbon Glacier route" to the summit as its accumulation basin lies at the foot of Willis and Liberty Wall.

We walked from the Carbon entrance up the glacier and climbed Liberty Ridge in the winter.  It was tough getting up the snout of the glacier at that time, as it was 300 feet of near vertical ice.

I guess there's still some ice under that to qualify it as a glacier. In the 70's it filled up the sides that are now bare, as shown in the reference map in the article cited:

I also remember seeing the snout of the Nisqually Glacier from our car as we crossed the bridge. That has receded quite dramatically.
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Schroder
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PostThu May 23, 2019 5:19 pm 
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Mikey wrote:
it appears that the US Govt did not want ice cores taken from Mt Rainer because a chemical analysis of the core would show the ice core radioactive species and nearly all of these radioactive compounds came from the Hanford atomic works

I would believe it before the 70's but have trouble believing they would block testing more recently.  Rainier is not downwind of Hanford and a series of lawsuits in the 80's exposed "Green Run" that occurred in 1949 and the exposure that the population toward Walla Walla, Dayton and Pomeroy experienced:

Wikipedia wrote:
The "Green Run" was a secret U.S. Government release of radioactive fission products on December 23, 1949, at the Hanford Site plutonium production facility, located in Eastern Washington. Radioisotopes released at that time were supposed to be detected by U.S. Air Force reconnaissance. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the U.S. Government have revealed some of the details of the experiment.[1] Sources cite 5,500 to 12,000 curies (200 to 440 TBq) of iodine-131 released,[1][2][3] and an even greater amount of xenon-133. The radiation was distributed over populated areas, and caused the cessation of intentional radioactive releases at Hanford until 1962 when more experiments commenced.[3]
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Mikey
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PostThu May 23, 2019 10:51 pm 
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Shroeder.  Apparently there are easterly and northeasterly winds that affect Mt Rainier.  We were told by the scientists taking plant and animal samples in the Goat Rocks that there were scientifically measured (ie chemical analysis) radioactive chemicals found in the Goat Rocks samples.  There was a research project to explain the periodic high sulfur dioxide (SO2) concentrations measured at Mt Rainier and some expected the SO2 to originate from the Centralia coal fired power plant.  A government engineer told me that the air or wind trajectory showed that a significant amount of the SO2 detected at Mt Rainier appeared to originate from the Trail British Columbia smelter which is just north of the US Canadian border on the Columbia river. Recently  (ie May20-2, 2019) , there have been easterly winds across the Cascades although more typically we have westerly and south westerly winds.
As others have mentioned, the lack of ice core sampling from the summit of Mt Rainier was probably for national security reasons.
With regards to the radioactive emissions from the Hanford works impacting the people, some years ago I received two large cardboard boxes of reports, videos, etc. with a great deal of information about the radioactive emissions, health effects, etc.  Note that the Columbia river water was used to cool the nuclear reactors and the discharge water was highly contaminated with radioactive isotopes.  Fish in the Columbia river, especially fish which lived all the time were highly contaminated with radioactive isotopes.
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