Journal of Glaciology
International Glaciological Society
Water levels were measured in boreholes spaced along the entire length of Bench Glacier, Alaska, USA, for a period in excess of 2 years. Instrumented boreholes were arranged as nine pairs along the center line of the glacier and an orthogonal grid of 16 boreholes in a 3600 m2 region at the center of the ablation area. Dirunal fluctuations of the water levels were found to be restricted to the late melt season. Pairs of boreholes spaced along the length of the ablation area often exhibited similar fluctuations and diurnal changes in water levels. Three distinct and independent types of diurnal fluctuations in water level were observed in cluster of boreholes within the grid of boreholes. Head gradients suggest water did not flow between clusters,and a single tunnel connecting the boreholes could not explain the observed pattern of diunal water-level fluctuations. Inter-borehole and borehole-cluster connectivity suggests the cross-glacier width of influence of a segment of the drainage system connected to a borehole was limited to tens of meters. A drainage configuration whereby boreholes are connected to a somewhat distant tunnel by drainage pipes of differing lengths, often hundreds of meters, is shown with a numerical test to be a plausible explanation for the observed borehole behavior.
© 2008 International Glaciological Society