First Advisor

Andrew G. Fountain

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Geology and University Honors




South Cascade Glacier (Wash), Glaciers -- Washington (State) -- South Cascade Glacier, Ice calving, Mass budget (Geophysics) -- Mathematical models




Retreat of South Cascade Glacier has been well documented since 1957. Despite this, little research has examined why South Cascade Glacier has receded more rapidly than other glaciers in the North Cascades region of Washington State during the last century. The purpose of this thesis is to determine whether calving associated with the proglacial South Cascade Lake significantly influenced the glacier’s retreat. A simple numerical model using documented and projected historical net mass balances, bed configuration data, and lake basin data is used to approximate the recession of South Cascade Glacier during the last century. To evaluate the influence of calving on the glacier’s recession, we simulate the glacier with and without calving losses. Experiments show that calving through the proglacial lake appears to have very little influence on the overall length and thickness of the glacier, however an improved calving equation is necessary to verify this result. Overall, climatic variations expressed through the ELA show to be more important than the effect of calving on changing the size of South Cascade Glacier.


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