Since joining Lamont in 2017 I have participated in a range of outreach events, with the aim of engaging the public in science and particularly glaciology and the polar regions. Our exhibits at these events have a central theme – ice flows!
On large spatial scales (100+ m) and on long time scales (greater than two weeks) ice flows like a viscous fluid. We focus on this concept at many outreach events. We explain how glaciers form through accumulation of snow at high latitudes and altitudes. This snow is the squashed by more snow and then flows and spreads under gravity.
One demonstration we run is model of a glacier, with glacier goo! See below the time lapse video of one of these demonstrations.
The glacier goo flows over and round a bedrock outcrop. Stakes are initially placed in a line on the surface of the glacier and their deformation indicates the flow of the glacier. Flow is slower near the obstacles and at the base leading to the curved and tilted profile of the stakes. Video credit: Calvin Shackleton (UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø)