Jumbo Glacier Resort: Certification Lapse?

Posted by William Colgan on October 09, 2014
Glaciers and Society / No Comments

The environmental assessment certificate of Jumbo Glacier Resort is set to lapse. The certificate was issued to Glacier Resorts Ltd. in 2004, to build an all-season ski resort in the Purcell Mountains, in Southwest British Columbia, Canada. The absence of a “substantial start” to construction by October 12 would mean the ten-year old environmental assessment certificate cannot be renewed. The Ktunaxa First Nation have contested the project, primarily over concerns it would threaten the Qat’muk Grizzly Bear population. The project would also develop four glaciers (Dome, Jumbo, Commander and Farnham) within a larger ski area. The completed resort would have twenty ski lifts, ferrying skiers up to 3,400 metres elevation, with a 6,300 bed ski village in the valley below. Unlike Europe, North America does not seem to have a particularly strong tradition of developing glaciers into skiing areas.

Huffington Post Canada: Time Running Out For Jumbo Glacier Ski Resort As Construction Deadline Approaches

Ktunaxa First Nation: Qat’muk

Jumbo Glacier Resort



Site of the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort. (from

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Iceland Names “New” Glaciers

Posted by William Colgan on October 07, 2014
Climate Change / No Comments

This past week the Icelandic Meteorology Office named 130 glaciers on the Tröllaskagi Peninsula in north-central Iceland. Most of the new glacier names refer to local landmarks. Until recently, many of the previously unnamed glaciers had appeared to be white perennial snowfields, rather than blue ice glaciers, in satellite imagery. Retreating snow lines, however, have begun revealing underlying glacier ice since c. 1996. A glacier snowline marks the lowest elevation limit where year-round snow exists. Climate change is causing an upward migration of snowlines at most Arctic glaciers, due to increased surface melt during the summer season. So, although all of Iceland’s monitored glaciers are consistently exhibiting negative surface mass balance, and recent climate change has committed c. 35 ± 11 % of Iceland’s glacier volume (or c. 850,000,000,000 tons of ice!) to disappear, even in the absence of further climate change, some good new for Iceland: It’s glacier population is growing on paper!

Morgunblaðið: Um 130 nafnlausir jöklar

Mernild, S. H., Lipscomb, W. H., Bahr, D. B., Radić, V., and Zemp, M.: Global glacier changes: a revised assessment of committed mass losses and sampling uncertainties, The Cryosphere, 7, 1565-1577, doi:10.5194/tc-7-1565-2013, 2013.


The glaciers of the Tröllaskagi Peninsula, Iceland. (from GoogleEarth)


Recent surface mass balance observations from Iceland’s monitored glaciers. The ice loss of Tungnaarjokull, Langjokull and Hofsjokull SW now exceeds 3000 mm of water equivalent per year. (data from Mernild et al., 2013)

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Proglacial Mines: Ice Flow and Infrastructure

Posted by William Colgan on September 15, 2014
Applied Glaciology, Glaciology History / No Comments

Last week Radio Free Europe released some photos of the Kumtor Gold Mine in Kyrgyzstan, where Centerra Gold Inc has been excavating approximately 10 MT of ice per year from the Lysii and Davidov Glaciers that flow into the open pit. In 2012 reported that production estimates were down-revised due to a combination of “substantial acceleration of ice” and labor disruptions. These recent photos show infrastructure damage resulting from what appears to be glacier advance.

While no doubt curious, such a geotechnical management challenge would not be unique. In 1977, Eyles and Rogerson described how several positive mass balance years on the Berendon Glacier in Canada could cause sufficient terminus advance to threaten the adjacent Granduc Operating Company ore processing plant. In response, the Granduc Operating Company began discharging 30°C wastewater, year-round for five years, directly on to the glacier terminus to prevent advance. Glaciers are indeed dynamic landscape features for planning purposes!

Radio Free Europe photo series:

Eyles, N. and R. Rogerson. 1977. Artificially induced thermokarst in active glacier ice: An example from northwest British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Glaciology. 18: 437–444.


Infrastructure damage resulting from what appears to be glacier advance at the Kumtor Mine in Kyrgyzstan (from Radio Free Europe: Kumtor Gold Mine Appears To Be In Bad Shape)


Intentional thermokarst of the Berendon Glacier by the Granduc Operating Company. Red line denotes Summit Lake stream, which has been diverted upglacier at A. Hot waste water is added at B, and flow is subglacial until C. The stream exits the glacier terminus at D. (from Eyles and Rogerson, 1977)

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Brucejack Mine: Knipple Glacier Road

Posted by William Colgan on September 12, 2014
Applied Glaciology / No Comments

Full project environmental impact statement:


Brucejack Gold Mine access road over the Knipple Glacier (from the Brucejack Gold Mine Project Application for an Environmental Assessment Certificate Appendix 10-C).


Overview map of the Brucejack Gold Mine access road over the Knipple Glacier (from the Brucejack Gold Mine Project Application for an Environmental Assessment Certificate Appendix 10-C).

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