Climate Change & Rockfall on Glaciers

Climate Change & Rockfall on Glaciers

Retreating glaciers can exacerbate rockfall hazard in the glacier valley. This rockfall results from increasing debris cover at the ice margins of the glacier and increases the distance that dislodged rocks may fall. This research by Dr Heather Purdie of the University of Canterbury and supported in part by the Brian Mason Trust Fund, has relevance for the Fox and Franz Glacier tourism businesses which guide people to view the glaciers. It also has implications for DoC who manage the risk to visitors who wish to view the glaciers.

The research team made a presentation to the Fox Glacier community to provide an opportunity for the community to learn and ask questions about implications of the current rapid recession of the glacier. They also produced a hazard map for a local guiding company to inform them on rockfall run-out zones so that guided trips can minimise their risk exposure.

Climate Change & Rockfall on Glaciers