Sampling the Ice
October 22, 2009
I just got back from GSA, so I apologize for the delay in the posts. We have had a lot of talks about this landslide at the conference and have a lot of heads thinking and working on it. Particularly, the ice. It actually might play a big part in the landslide failure. If the landslide formed deep cracks through previous slower movement, it could have allowed warm air into the area where the ice was. This could have resulting in melting of the ice, which would have added in water to the system or just made the perfect slide for a block of ice to flow on. The low angle of the landslide would suggest something like this could have occurred. Once we gain a sample of the ice, we will run some tests on it, try and determine its age and so forth. Hopefully it will shed some further clues on this landslide.
As I thought might have occurred, the places where we first found the ice had collapsed and it was impossible to safely gather a sample of ice (ever try digging on an unstable talus slope?). So, that clue looks like it might be lost unless we can recover something from drilling.