Saturday, October 18, 2008

Interesting Thought

And we think climate change is a new idea or thought?

"...Clearly the traveler in this region is surrounded by the records of mighty changes. Not only does he inquire how the study of glaciers will do much toward making clear the manner in which the once smooth slopes have been trenched by radiating valleys, leaving mountain like ridges between.

Another line of inquiry which we shall find of interest as we advance is suggested by the recent shrinkage of Carbon Glacier. Are all of the glaciers that flow form the mountain wasting away? If we find this to be the case, what climatic change does it indicate?"

"Glaciers of Mount Rainier", Israel Cook Russell, with additional paper, "The Rocks of Mount Rainier", by George Otis Smith, in US Geological Survey 18th Annual Report, 1896-97, Part II, pages 349-423.

Israel Russell, George Otis Smith and Bailey Willis with a support team were commissioned by the US Geological Survey to conduct the first exploratioin of the glaciers of Mount Rainier, which they did July 15-31, 1896, including an overnight stay on the summit in a steam vent in the crater. The trip began and ended at Carbonado via the Bailey Willis trail (later renamed the Carbon River road and trail).

They were the first travelers to traverse the north side of Mount Rainier above tree line across the Carbon and Winthrop Glacier to the summit up Emmons Glacier, descending to Paradise Park, and then traversing Emmons, Ingraham, Emmons and Carbon Glaciers on the return trip to the base camp and later Carbonado.

They discussed the idea in the above quote during their expedition and Isreal Russell writing this observation and questions while camping along the Carbon Glacier in the early days of the expedition after seeing extensive glacier recession features in the Carbon River valley and along the Carbon Glacier.

Just a thought by three geologists camped in the wilderness of Mount Rainier in 1896.

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