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Kathy Sykes' Diary

Day 22: Speed and Melt of Glacier

Jonathan, Mike and I have to go spend a night on the Franz Josef Glacier - it's fantastic! We have to try to measure the speed that it's moving at. Hard challenge I think much harder than it seems. But delighted to be going up the glacier and sleeping in a hut.
Why's the challenge hard? Well, to measure the speed - we should be measuring how fast the glacier moves over a really long period of time. It can't move very far in just a day - it would be so much better to take averages over a period of, say, a few weeks, or months even.

Photo: Kathy with drillSo we needed to build some things to:
- measure angles really accurately,
- measure out a distance for a baseline,
- place paper to draw onto (for an accurate scale drawing).
Jonathan made a beautiful protractor - huge and in a tiny 1/10 of a degree scale. Mike built a tripod table. I collected stuff and made a long distance measuring thing (a pipe - plastic and light-weight). I made the stakes - of differing height with shiny red flags on top.

Photo: Kathy with flagsThe “sticky-out-ness” of the flags makes me laugh but there's a real purpose too. We need to be able to see them at large distances, so if there's no wind and they are limp, we'll perhaps struggle to see them. At the end of the day Jonathan, Mike and I had a practice go at measuring a ‘glacier movement'. Meant putting our bits and pieces of kit together and, deliciously, it all worked.


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Photo: Kathy Sykes
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