Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Geological Sciences

First Advisor

Robert Anderson

Second Advisor

Charles Stern

Third Advisor

Dale Miller


Rock glaciers represent the dynamic interaction between rock and ice in many alpine settings that lie below the Equilibrium Line Altitude (ELA). These periglacial systems are formed by avalanched snow and debris from an overlying headwall, and are adorned with distinct topographic lobes collectively known as rumples. The central rock glacier of Mount Sopris presents a clear expression of rumples, where the structures are well-defined throughout the 1.8 km long glacier. In addition to clearly-expressed rumples, the accumulation area is constrained to a narrow bowl at the base of the headwall that is easy to identify. To inform our understanding of rock glaciers, we surround existing remote sensing data with an array of techniques to quantify the spatial distribution of rumples, and qualitatively analyze the development of the avalanche cone with time-lapse photography.