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Mapping the fresh-water–salt-water interface in the terminal moraine of the Bering Glacier

By
Austin B. Andrus
Austin B. Andrus
Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, Michigan 49931, USA
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Kevin A. Endsley
Kevin A. Endsley
Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, Michigan 49931, USA
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Silvia Espino
Silvia Espino
Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, Michigan 49931, USA
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John S. Gierke
John S. Gierke
Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, Michigan 49931, USA
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Published:
May 01, 2010

The principal objective of this investigation was to delineate the geometry of the subterranean discharge of fresh melt water from Vitus Lake (VL) at the terminus of the Bering Glacier into the Gulf of Alaska (GoA). It was hypothesized that during the seasons where the glacier was exhibiting melting, increases in VL elevation would push freshwater through the moraine toward the GoA. Because of the proximity to the GoA, intruded seawater would lie below the freshwater. The fresh and salt waters were delineated by measuring variations in apparent resistivity—as a proxy for salinity—with depth using two-dimensional electrical resistivity tomography at a variety of locations between the GoA and VL. The surveys were conducted using Schlumberger and pole-dipole arrays, along with temporal surveys to examine tidal effects. The results of field surveys conducted in August 2007 and 2008 showed that an interface between the fresh and salt water exists within the moraine at depth and that the interface is deeper progressing from the GoA toward VL. Although the fresh/salt water interface was readily apparent proximal to the GoA, a distinct interface was not apparent closer to VL. The inability to measure a distinct interface could be due to depth limitations (~68 m) for the maximum array length (330 m) and/or mixing of fresh and seawater due to the seasonal effects on melting, which would likely result in seasonal changes in the interface.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Bering Glacier: Interdisciplinary Studies of Earth's Largest Temperate Surging Glacier

Robert A. Shuchman
Robert A. Shuchman
Michigan Tech Research Institute, 3600 Green Court, Suite 100, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105, USA
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Edward G. Josberger
Edward G. Josberger
U.S. Geological Survey, Washington Water Science Center, 934 Broadway, Suite 300, Tacoma, Washington 98402, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
462
ISBN print:
9780813724621
Publication date:
May 01, 2010

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