Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Mapping a glacial path of destruction

The dangerous power of glacial outburst floods - or jokulhlaups - will be easier to predict thanks to new models developed by a Leeds researcher and presented at the International Glaciological Society symposium in Iceland this Friday (June 23).

These spectacular outburst floods happen as dams of ice and earth give way or, as from Vatnajokull in Iceland in 1996, when a volcano erupts beneath a glacier. That outburst flood was 10km wide, swept away a bridge and left behind icebergs 10m high.

For the first time, scientists can model the impact of these floods, the damage they could cause and the changes they will make to the landscape. Improved computer power allows them to take digital maps of an area metre by metre and picture the impact of the water as well as the materials carried by the flood.

The power of jokulhlaups means that it's not possible to take conventional measurements of flow and the sediment load. Instead Leeds researcher and School of Geography lecturer Dr Jonathan Carrivick and colleagues have used geological detective work to examine the landscape created by a flood and calculate the energy and mechanisms needed to generate these shapes.

Outburst floods can pose a major hazard in mountainous areas. Dr Carrivick said: "It's the rocks, sediment and ice which do most damage and create the most impressive landforms not just the water, and it's only now that we can model the impact of the load of these floods."

"This is really important for hazard management and also because flood size and frequencies will alter with climate change. In particular, global warming will lead to changes in how fast glaciers melt, and the mode by which meltwater is released."

Dr Carrivick is waiting for a jokulhlaup in New Zealand this summer. The Mount Ruapehu area has been set-up for measurements by local researchers and the existing landscape mapped at very high resolution. It's hoped that the before and after maps - as well as some measurements of the flood - will support his model.

Hannah Love | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic
24.10.2016 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>