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Journal of Glaciology


We used ground-penetrating radar (GPR), GPS and glaciochemistry to evaluate melt regimes and ice depths, important variables for mass-balance and ice-volume studies, of Upper Yentna Glacier, Upper Kahiltna Glacier and the Mount Hunter ice divide, Alaska. We show the wet, percolation and dry snow zones located below 2700ma.s.l., at 2700 to 3900ma.s.l. and above 3900ma.s.l., respectively. We successfully imaged glacier ice depths upwards of 480m using 40–100MHz GPR frequencies. This depth is nearly double previous depth measurements reached using mid-frequency GPR systems on temperate glaciers. Few Holocene-length climate records are available in Alaska, hence we also assess stratigraphy and flow dynamics at each study site as a potential ice-core location. Ice layers in shallow firn cores and attenuated glaciochemical signals or lacking strata in GPR profiles collected on Upper Yentna Glacier suggest that regions below 2800ma.s.l. are inappropriate for paleoclimate studies because of chemical diffusion, through melt. Flow complexities on Kahiltna Glacier preclude ice-core climate studies. Minimal signs of melt or deformation, and depth–age model estimates suggesting 4815 years of ice on the Mount Hunter ice divide (3912ma.s.l.) make it a suitable Holocene-age ice-core location.



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