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Bathymetric evolution of Tasman Glacier terminal lake, New Zealand, as determined by remote surveying techniques

Purdie, Heather, Bealing, Paul, Tidey, Emily, Gomez, Christopher, Harrison, Justin
Global and planetary change 2016 v.147 pp. 1-11
boats, evolution, freshwater, glaciers, ice, icebergs, lakes, surveys, New Zealand
Processes that drive iceberg calving at the margins of freshwater terminating glaciers are still poorly understood. This knowledge-gap is in part due to the challenge of obtaining good in situ data in a highly dynamic and dangerous environment. We are using emerging remote technologies, in the form of a remote controlled jet boat to survey bathymetry, and Structure from Motion (SfM) to characterize terminus morphology, to better understand relationships between lake growth and terminus evolution. Comparison of results between the jet boat mounted dual-frequency Garmin fish-finder with an Odom Echotrac DF3200 MKII with 200/38kHz dual-frequency transducer, showed that after a sound velocity adjustment, the remote survey obtained depth data within ±1m of the higher grade survey equipment. Water depths of up to 240m were recorded only 100m away from the terminus, and subaerial cliff height ranged from around 6 to 33m, with the central region of the terminus more likely to experience buoyancy. Subaqueous ice ramps are ephemeral features, and in 2015 multiple ice ramps extended out into the lake from the terminus by 100–200m. The consistent location of some of the subaqueous ramps between surveys may indicate that other processes, for example, subglacial hydrology, also influence evolving terminus morphology.