Geomorphometric Assessment of Glacier State in the Karakoram, Himalaya

Published in Proceedings of the 2018 Geomorphometry Conference, Huo, D., Bishop, M. P., & Young, B. W., 2018

Abstract: The Karakoram Himalaya exhibits complex climateglacier dynamics that operate within a mountain geodynamics framework. The region exhibits unusual positive mass balance and advancing glacier conditions, known as the Karakoram Anomaly. Unfortunately, climate, ablation and accumulation data are lacking for most glaciers to characterize various glacier states. Therefore, we evaluate process-morphology relationships over glacier surfaces for characterizing between surge-type and nonsurge-type glaciers. We accomplish this by computing glacier profiles of geomorphometric parameters that are related to glacial dynamics and then perform wavelet analysis to extract spatial frequency signatures for glacier profiles and surfaces. We demonstrate that surge-type glaciers have steeper altitude profiles and more topographic shielding at high altitudes compared to non-surge-type glaciers due to potentially higher erosion rates and tectonism. One-dimensional wavelet analysis of glacier profiles reveals higher spatial frequency variation of topography on surgetype glaciers related to disequilibrium conditions and rapid ice and sediment fluxes. Large non-surge-type glaciers were found to exhibit larger scale periodic topographic variation related to downwasting patterns and supraglacial lakes. Finally, twodimensional wavelet analysis highlights the anisotropic and periodic surge-related terrain features which provides the greatest discrimination between surge-type and non-surge-type glaciers.

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