Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2013

Document Type




First Advisor

Prof. Mark W. williams


The tropical glaciers in the Cordillera Blanca are currently experiencing rapid melting due to climate change and increased human activity. To understand better whether anthropogenic airborne particulates, such as dust or black carbon, are having an effect on the retreat of the glaciers, snow samples from five separate mountains located throughout the range were collected, melted and then filtered through 25 mm quartz filters (Pallflex Tissuquartz, 0.7 µm pore size). The filters were analyzed for dust concentrations and for percentage of organic carbons. By comparing the spatial variability of the dust concentration throughout the range, the percentage of carbon in the snowpack, and present-day dust concentrations to that of the paleo-dust concentrations from the entire Holocene and into the Late Glacial Stage derived from ice-cores on Huascaran Sur, this study shows that glaciers on the west side and southern end of the Cordillera Blanca are indeed being affected by albedo-reducing anthropogenic dust.