We interpreted flow dynamics of the Kahiltna Pass Basin accumulation zone on Mount McKinley, Alaska, USA, using 40, 100 and 900 MHz ground-penetrating radar profiles and GPS surface velocity measurements. We found dipping, englacial surface-conformable strata that experienced vertical thickening as the glacier flowed westward from a steep, higher-velocity (60 m a–1) region into flat terrain associated with a 908 bend in the glacier and lower velocities (15 m a–1) to the south. Stratigraphy near the western side of the basin was surface-conformable to 170 m depth and thinned as flow diverged southward, down-glacier. We found complex strata beneath the conformable stratigraphy and interpret these features as buried crevasses, avalanche debris and deformed ice caused by up-glacier events. We also suggest that basin dimensions, bed topography and the sharp bend each cause flow extension and compression, significantly contributing to conformable and complex strata thickness variations. Our findings show that surface-conformable stratigraphy continuous with depth and consistent strata thicknesses cannot be assumed in accumulation basins, because local and upglacier terrain and flow dynamics can cause structural complexities to occur under and within surfaceconformable layers.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

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Journal of Glaciology


International Glaciological Society

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