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Large-scale moraine deformation at the Athabasca Glacier, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 17:10 authored by Chris H Hugenholtz, Brian J Moorman, John BarlowJohn Barlow, Pablo A Wainstein
In this paper the development of a large-scale gravitational deformation involving the eastern lateral moraine of the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada, is described. Interpretation and analysis of sequential aerial photographs indicates that a 540-m-wide segment of the eastern lateral moraine began to deform in the early 1950s; however, significant movement only began in the late 1960s. Since then, the moraine has undergone progressive gravitational deformation leading to a network of fractures, bulging, and the development of a large gap in the moraine crest. Geographic information system analysis of topographic changes between 1967 and 2006 indicates that the displaced volume of the moraine is approximately 9.0×10 5 m 3 . In the last 39 years, the moraine crest has displaced 55 m (1.4 m yr -1 ) down towards the glacier. The development of slope instability is linked to a combination of debuttressing from recent glacier recession, deformation of the moraine, as well as the movement of a large, mobile, debris-mantled slope impinging the upslope margin of the lateral moraine. This case study illustrates the importance of glacial conditioning and local geomorphological factors in creating conditions for large-scale moraine instability in recently deglacierized alpine basins.
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