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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Lamplugh Glacier landslide, 28 June 2016


This is one mechanism by which debris is dumped onto a glacier.  The Lamplugh Glacier landside occurred on 28 June 2016, and it is estimated that 150 million tonnes of rock was deposited onto the glacier surface.  The vast spread of debris came from the collapse of a very high cirque wall on the flank of the glacier.  No earthquake was involved -- but the landslide itself had measurable effect on seismometers, and was recorded as a "seismic event."   

Because this event occurred in the accumulation zone of the glacier, the landslide debris, which is supraglacial at the moment, will soon be buried by accumulating snow and will then end up travelling within the glacier.  Its position within the ice mass will depend upon the contribution to the glacier mass that may come from tributary glaciers downstream, and the details of glacier dynamics.  Unless basal melting carries the rockfall debris down onto the glacier bed, it may travel for many miles without being subjected to the normal processes of abrasion and fracturing.

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