Abstract

We describe a computer-controlled, distance-measuring system designed for glacier-motion surveys. A Sharp PC-1500 pocket computer is used to control an AGA Geodimeter 122 infrared laser ranger. Slope distance and vertical angle are automatically measured and plotted at preselected time intervals and recorded on magnetic tape. As a demonstration, three field experiments were performed on Trapridge Glacier, Yukon Territory. In the first experiment the position of a glacier flow marker was measured at 1 min intervals for 39 h. The average velocity (toward the instrument) was found to be 2.99 mm h−1. Subglacial water pressure was simultaneously measured at the flow marker site. For the duration of the survey, water pressure was low, and there is no clear relationship between pressure variations and glacier motion. In the second experiment the distance to a stationary target was measured at 1 min intervals for 9 h. The calculated motion of this target was −0.149 mm h−1, giving an indication of the magnitude of uncorrected distance errors. The third experiment lasted 35 h and again involved measurements of glacier flow. The calculated target motion was 1.80 mm h−1 toward the instrument.

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