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Hi. My name is Robert and I teach at Cleveland High School in Portland, Oregon. I also infuse inquiry and research-based approaches when teaching science. In addition to teaching, I am pursuing a Master's Degree in Geology at Portland State University.

In my spare time, I spend time with my wife Michele and two young children. As a family we enjoy outdoor activities - skiing during the winter and hiking in the summer, as well as accessing childrens museums and performances in the Portland area.

Investigation of Englacial Conduit Formation and Evolution
Dr. Andrew Fountain, Portland State University

Englacial conduits are drainage passageways that function to route water from the surface of a glacier to the glacier bed. They are a common feature of temperate glaciers that undergo active melting during the summer. Englacial conduits are quite dynamic. Meltwater enlarges them during the summer, and they freeze shut during the winter. The associated hydrology, of which englacial conduits are a part, affects the mechanics and movement of a glaceir. Further, subglacial water can be tapped directly for water resources and electrial power generation. To date, englacial conduits have not been studied vigorously.

This research will use a variety of techniques to gain a better understanding of englacial conduits. Ice radar surveys will be used to locate their englacial position. Then a hot water drill will be enployed, and will hopefully bisect the conduit. Once a connection is established, a borehole video camera will be used to measure conduit diameter as well as measure water flow in the conduit. There are three significant hypotheses that are being tested with these approaches: 1) More englacial conduits of larger sizes and water flows will be encountered in the ablation zone versus the accumulation zone, 2) The frequency of englacial conduits will decrease with depth, and 3) The conduit network will be composed of gently sloping conduits with rare near-vertical passages. The approach to fieldwork will be to drill a group of closely, regularly spaced boreholes in three different areas of the glacier.

The location of this research will be at Storglaciaren, a temperate valley glacier located in the Kebnekaise. The Kebnekaise is a mountainous region in northern Sweden.

Follow Robert's earlier Arctic Expeditions

Robert will post journals a few times each week. Be sure to check back to find out the latest about the glacier!

July 2001

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