During 1977-1982, Jim Ellis hiked across the Brooks Range of northern Alaska with Dr. Parker Calkin and graduate students from University of Buffalo, Department of Geological Sciences. He created maps of many cirque glaciers and rock glaciers, compiled physical data on each landform, and surveyed 3 glaciers and 3 rock glaciers with a theodolite. He's converting these paper maps to digital files and georeferencing them into GIS to increase access to this unique climatic-change archive.
A 40 minute video presented at the 2008 NE GSA Conference summarizes the glacial mapping story - and discusses recommended future work. This 51 MB video is in Windows Media Player format and available at this site:
Data were collected in four areas: east-central Brooks Range (centered about Atigun Pass and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline), Arrigetch Peaks, Anatuvuk Pass, and Northeastern Brooks Range. This website provides maps and photographs showing the extent of glaciers during 1977-1982.
Regional maps of the 4 study areas and Landsat images are formatted to display in Google Earth. Zips of .kmz files are at the bottom of this page. Download the zip, open the .kmz and the GIS layers will display in Google Earth. You can fade the map over the image. At each glacier there will be a posting with a ground photograph from 1977-1982 and physical characteristics listed.
Professors Jason Briner (University at Buffalo) and Darrell Kaufman (Northern Arizona University) have secured NSF grants to date Holocene and Pleistocene moraines in the Brooks Range using the cosmogenic 10Be technique. As their graduate students are hiking around doing the cosmogenic dating and other sophisticated measurements, they are also measuring lichens and comparing their results to what was mapped during the 1977-1982 campaigns. This is excellent news, and I look forward to their publications. Refining the deglaciation story in the Brooks Range from late Pleistocene to present will contribute to understanding glacier and climatic variability, a key challenge facing society.