Roundup: A Tlingit Song, Glacier Theory, and Rock Glacier Classification

Tlingit Song Recalls Glacier Bay and Time Gone By

A recent paper describes a song from 120 years ago that a Huna Tlingit woman named Mary Sheakley first sang after an encounter with wolves in Glacier Bay Alaska. Just as remarkable is the spontaneous recollection of it decades later by her younger clan sister after being nearly lost to time.

Read the story by Grennan Milliken on GlacierHub here.

Amy Marvin performing Mary Sheakley’s song in 1996. (Credit: University of Southeast Alaska)

An 1852 Visit to an Opponent of Glacier Theory

After a promising start to his earth sciences career, Louis-Albert Necker, grandson of renowned geologist and Alpine explorer Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, abandoned his hometown of Geneva, publishing nothing further and spending the last twenty years of his life on the Scottish Isle of Skye. At the time he disagreed that glaciers were responsible for the deposition of erratics, instead preferring deluge theory as responsible for their movement. From the journal Earth Sciences History:

“Necker conceded that glaciers had once been more extensive but remained unconvinced by this explanation for the widespread movement of rocks, considering the evidence insufficient. His preferred explanation, catastrophic floods following the melting of glacier barriers that formerly retained mountain lakes, was in line with his grandfather’s theory.”

Read more in “A Visit To Louis-Albert Necker On The Isle Of Skye, 1852.”

Necker is best remembered for the Necker cube (on the left), impossible cube on the right (Source: WikiCommons).

A Study to Classify Rock Glaciers

An effort to classify rock glaciers into binary status, intact vs relict, resulted in the inventory of 235 rock glaciers, which can be used to estimate quantity of frozen material within a rock glacier. The study, focused in South Tyrol, Eastern Italian Alps, was published in the journal Science Direct. From the abstract:

“Ice presence in rock glaciers is a topic that is likely to gain importance in the future due to the expected decrease in water supply from glaciers and the increase of mass movements originating in periglacial areas. This makes it important to have at ones disposal inventories with complete information on the state of rock glaciers. This study presents a method to overcome incomplete information on the status of rock glaciers (i.e. intact vs. relict) recorded in regional scale inventories.”

Read the full study here.

Intact and relict tongue-shaped rock glaciers located in Zay Valley – South Tyrol (Source: Kofler et al).

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