Warburton, J. and Fenn, C. R. (1994)
Unusual flood events from an alpine glacier - observations and deductions on generating mechanisms
- Cite key
- Journal of Glaciology
- Observations are presented on a articularly unusual sequence of flood events witnessed at Bas Glacier d'Arolla, witzerland, in July 1987. The sequence was triggered by heavy rain storms, and involved a supraglacial "overflow event" (water cascading from moulins over the snout of the glacier) succeeded, following a series of "mini-floods", by a subglacial "outburst event". Available hydrological and geomorphological data are used to assess the significance of the floods and to deduce likely explanations for each phase of the flood-event sequence. Bottom-up surcharging of a poorly developed subglacial drainage system is the preferred explanation for the overflow event. The subglacial outburst is explained as an extreme "spring event". Hydraulic jacking is implicated, but not proven, during both events. Whilst the flood sequence was triggered by an intense storm, englacially stored waters are believed to have contributed most of the flood waters.