INSTITUTO ARGENTINO DE NIVOLOGIA, GLACIOLOGIA Y CIENCIAS AMBIENTALES
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Geometric evolution of the Horcones Inferior Glacier (Mount Aconcagua, Central Andes) during the 2002?2006 surge
BERTHIER, E.; RUIZ, L.; ZALAZAR, L.; PITTE, P.; CABOT, V.; GARGANTINI, H.; MASIOKAS, M.; FERRI HIDALGO, L.
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH
AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION
Año: 2016 vol. 121 p. 111 - 127
The Central Andes of Chile and Argentina (31-35 °S) contain a large number and variety of ice masses but only two surging glaciers have been studied in this region. We analyzed the 2002-2006 surge of the Horcones Inferior Glacier, Mt. Aconcagua, Argentina, based on medium spatial resolution (15-30 m) satellite images and digital elevation models. During the build-up phase the glacier was stagnant, with velocities lower than 0.1 m/day. In the active phase velocities reached 14 m/day and the glacier front advanced of 3.1 km. At the peak of the active phase (2003-2004), the area-averaged elevation change was -42 m in the reservoir zone (2.53 km²) and +30 m in the receiving zone (3.31 km²). The estimated ice flux through a cross section located at 4175 m asl was 108 m3 during a period of 391 days, a flux that suggests a mean glacier thickness at this location of ~90 m. The depletion phase showed a recovery of the reservoir zone elevation, the down-wasting of the receiving zone (-17 m,2007-2014) and a return to quiescent velocities. The short active phase, the abrupt change in the velocities and the high level of the proglacial stream indicate a hydrological switch (Alaska-type) trigger. The 2002-2006 and 1984-1990 surges of Horcones Inferior were synchronous with the surges of nearby Grande del Nevado Glacier. These events occurred after periods of positive mass balance, so we hypothesize a climate driver.