Glacier surface debris in Patagonia – Glaciar Leones landslide

My colleague Emily Collier was doing fieldwork in Patagonia in 2017 and she sent me these lovely images of debris on some glaciers on the east side of the Northern Patagonian Icefield. I think these glaciers are (from top to bottom which is also North to South), Exploradores, Leones, Nef, Colonia and in the last image Pared Norte, Pared Sur and Picsis.

An article from 2016 by Neil Glasser and co-authors nicely summarizes change in the debris cover of the outlet glaciers of the Northern Patagonia Icefield. They find that ” … between 1987 and 2015 the total amount of debris cover has increased from 168 km2 in 1987 to 307 km2 in 2015. The proportion of debris-covered area has also increased, from 4.1% in 1987 to 7.9% in 2015, with the largest proportional increases occurring east of the ice divide (where 15.2% of the glacier ice is now debris covered).”

Looking at images from this publication its clear that there has been a large landslide on Glaciar Leones between 2015 and 2017. Compare the 2nd image above with those from Mauro Peltos blog post of March 2015:

The above photo is by Jill Pelto taken on 13th March 2015, and the one below is by Emily Collier on 1st April 2017.

About lindsey

Environmental scientist. I am glaciologist specialising in glacier-climate interactions to better understand the climate system. The point of this is to understand how glaciated envionments might change in the future - how the glaciers will respond and what the impact on associated water resources and hazard potential will be.
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