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Rock Glacier Development in the San Juan Mountains

Authors: Brandon Bailey*,
Topics: Cryosphere, Geomorphology
Keywords: glacier, geomorphology, physical geography, cryosphere, paleoclimate
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The aims of this research are to examine evidence of neoglacial cooling on multi-lobed rock glaciers to better understand how rock glaciers develop at local and regional levels. Relative age determination techniques were used on three rock glaciers found in two neighboring northern-sloped basins in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. A total of 41 field sites were established at varying points of interests distributed across all three rock glaciers. The relative rock hardness at each site was measured with a schmidt hammer, a tool normally used to measure the strength of concrete. Mean rebound(r)-values were derived from a single impact on 50 boulders of uniform lithology. Weathering-rind measurements were collected at 11 of the field sites and median rind thickness was derived from 30 boulders using digital calipers. Results show that mean r-values decrease with distance from the source rock. Continued analysis will include weathering-rind data, an estimate of percent total lichen cover at each site from photographs taken in the field, and topographical measurements of each rock glacier derived from GIS software.

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