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December 16, 2012

The Beacon Valley

The Beacon Valley is one of the more spectacular places we fly.  Imagine Monument Valley then fill the lowlands with ice and you're getting close.  Nothing short of awe inspiring.

Field camp in the Beacon - there's really old ice under all those rocks!
The science in the Beacon revolves around ancient glacier ice buried and preserved under layers of rock.  Not discovered until the 1990s, the ice offers clues about paleo-climate and atmospheric changes over the eons.  The ice in the Beacon has been dated to 2-4 million years old.

Dr. Dave Marchant of Boston University heads up this research, read more about his team here.

Finger Mountain - a classic landmark of this part of the continent.

Near University Peak.

Setting up a precision GPS station on the summit of University Peak in the Beacon

Getting ready to head out - notice the sling load just off the nose of the heli, and all the blowing snow descending from the ridge tops.  The beacon can be notoriously rough flying, but this trip we didn't get beaten up too badly.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

How is Marchant's group accessing the buried ice? Are the drilling ice cores? Is there any ice visible on the surface? How deep is it? Could these buried ice deposits be considered rock glaciers? If not, then what is the difference?