Cryoconite Evolution and Formation on an Arctic Glacier Surface: A Case Study and Model



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Cryoconite holes are vertical cylindrical holes that form on glacier surfaces due to the lower albedo of sediments. Cryoconite holes exist on Linn ebreen, Svalbard over the entirety of the glacier. They preferentially melt below the surrounding glacier surface and eventually create standing water above them. In this study, six cryoconite holes were created by placing sediments on the glacier surface and observing their growth and movement for a period of fourteen days. They ranged from 2.0 cm wide with a depth of 0.5 cm to 7.0 cm wide and a depth of 2.0 cm. The greater the size of the cryoconite, the more it enhanced the melting of the surrounding surface both where it was initially placed and when it traveled down glacier. The largest cryoconite hole nished the two-week period 1 m down glacier from its initial placement and melted nearly 10 times the area of glacier ice as its own initial area. I hypothesize that this is due to the hydrologic cycle at work on the glacier. In order to look at this, we modeled how the cryoconite holes would form using the lower albedo of the cryoconite and the sun's revolution about the fi eld site.



glacier, ablation, Linne