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The Potential Risks and Future Impact of a Large Leverett Glacier Crevasse along the South Pole Traverse (SPoT)

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ERDC-CRREL Hanover United States

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In December 2013, the inbound South Pole Traverse SPoT encountered a large approximately 15 m 4 km open crevasse at the bottom of Leverett Glacier near the traverse route. A crevasse of this size so close to the traverse route could impede future traverses, resulting in significant delays or reroutes, and could pose a significant safety hazard to the SPoT personnel, vehicles, and equipment should it grow or migrate. These risks are difficult to quantify as the glaciological and meteorological setting around Leverett Glacier is particularly dynamic. The uncertainty estimates associated with the possible future growth of the crevasse are thus not well constrained. This report presents a compiled time-series analysis of satellite-derived multispectral imagery, satellite-derived ice-velocity data, and ground-based meteorological data in an effort to determine the timing and dynamics related to the appearance, growth, and migration of this crevasse. Though this study determined that the potential hazard posed by this crevasse is minimal to the existing SPoT route and personnel, the author recommends for future traverses a small 1 km course reroute correction, new ground-based radar and global positioning system GPS surveys, and continued vigilance and proactive hazard awareness with active real-time surveys.

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Technical Report



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Approved For Public Release;

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