Nature Notes

Vol. X November - 1932 No. 11

Just Here and There

Recessional measurements on the Emmons, South Tahoma and Carbon Glaciers were made, following that taken on the Nisqually (see October Nature Notes) as is customary. In addition, points were placed along the front of the Paradise Glacier to ascertain in future years the recession of this - a dead glacier.

The Emmons Glacier presents a difficult problem in getting anywhere near accurate recessional data. In October 1930, with the help of the Engineering Department a marker and back sight was placed and a line of sight run over the glacier just above the point where the main stream issued forth. In October 1931 it was found that the ice had receded 142 feet from the point. This figure should be taken with the proverbial "grain of salt" however, as all recession is measured to the point where the main stream issues from the ice and in the case of the Emmons Glacier it had melted back in a deep groove, flanked on both sides by tongues of ice (See diagram). Yet, in conformance with out established policy measurements were made to the stream point regardless - hence the large recessional figure. In the twelve month period (1931-1932) the ice had taken a radically different form at the snout and the stream had changed. The majority of the melting had taken place on the tongues that had flanked the groove the year before. It was apparent that some data to augment the report was necessary as, considering the arbitrary point of where the main stream came from the ice, the annual recession was but 2-1/2 feet. The place of last year's stream source was identified and at this point the recession was 18 feet in the previous year. In the case of the South Tahoma Glacier it was found that the recession of the past year was 37 feet. The marker was placed last year - consequently this is the first result obtained. Recession of this glacier was tabulated without difficulty.

sketch of Emmons Glacier retreat over time

Unfortunately the marker placed near the snout of the Carbon Glacier was again destroyed by high water and another attempt was made to establish a solid point - this time on a rock cliff some hundreds of feet below the actual snout which should be permanent, being free from high water influence and other agencies which tend to obliterate such markers. The Paradise Glacier was, as already stated, made ready for future measurements. Considerable fairly accurate historical data is available on this glacier also but it has not as yet been tabulated or correlated to ascertain the past position of the front of this dead glacier.

The sketch on the cover illustrates the Red-breasted Sap-sucker - an interesting and colorful bird that has been very active in the vicinity of Longmire recently, particularly on the Cottonwood trees here. The entire head, neck and chest of this bird is a brilliant red and this color, contrasted with black - the other dominant color makes a striking appearance. Its color combination is further enhanced by the yellowish underparts and white markings on the wings.

And by the way, have you read the article "The Large Wading Birds" by Gilbert Pearson in the October issue of the National Geographic Magazine? It is admirably well illustrated with photos and some beautiful colored plates - the later from the hand of Major Allan Brooks.

Winter is at hand here on "The Mountain". The middle of October heralded the first permanent snow in Paradise Valley - just a few inches but emblematic of the deep drifts that are to come with the passing of the next few months. Longmire, Government Headquarters, also experienced its first snowfall of the winter on October 22.

The two deer - "Pete" and "Nancy" - that were cared for throughout the summer by Ranger and Mrs. Frank Greer seem to have adopted the Greers and Longmire in general. Rarely seen apart, these two deer make a pleasing and interesting sight to visitors in the Park.

Readers of Nature Notes who will be among the fortunate to visit the "Century of Progress" Exposition in Chicago next summer will want to wear a string about one of their fingers - as a reminder to be sure and inspect the display of the National Park Service for a large, spectacular model of Mount Rainier will serve as the central figure in this exhibit.

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