Importance of Research
Undergraduate researchers from Pacific Lutheran University spend summer months studying glacial meltwater on Mount Rainier to learn more about glacial hydrology and the subglacial erosional environment. Student projects include analyzing meltwater for signs of hydrothermal influence, measuring daily and seasonal changes in suspended sediment load in meltwater streams, and exploring microbial communities present in meltwater. During summer 2012, one student analyzed glacial meltwater for fecal coliform after reading about a fecal coliform study in Denali National Park (Goodwin, 2011). The goal of the study was to determine if waste associated with mountaineering activity resulted in any contamination downstream.