Glaciar Unión


(a) The Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica.
(b) Location map of Union Glacier basin (light grey). Crevasses (red) and local grounding line (light blue dotted line) are indicated.
(c) Union glacier stake network and ice velocities (notice Rx1, rock GPS base station).
(d) Close up to Union glacier gate.



ASTER satellite image (February, 2012). The different color lines represent the maximal extension of the blue ice area for each year.

 Year   Area (km²) 
2002 96.8
2004 105.5
2007 112.9
2009 111.6
2012 90.6



Stake measurements at the Union glacier gate:
(a) (a) Ice velocities
(b) Ice elevation changes and
(c) Mass balance.



(a) Surveyed profile (80 km) measured at Union Glacier, Schanz Glacier, Schneider Glacier, Balish Glacier and Driscoll Glacier, along the way from the runway at Union Glacier to the upper plateau.
(b) Profile with surface and subglacial topography obtained between the upper Plateau and Driscoll glacier.
(c) This profile represents the snow and ice interface along the " passage".



In November 2010 the team Glaciología of the Centro de Estudios Científicos (Andrés Rivera, Rodrigo Zamora and José Uribe) made the Union Glacier 2010 campaign CECs & Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions (ALE). On November 27 aboard the IL -76 landed on the Union Glacier at 23:10 Hrs.



Andrés Rivera, Rodrigo Zamora and José Uribe (Team CECs)


The blue line shows the area where measurements were made


On November 28 we made planning the activities to be performed, GPS measurements.


On November 30 the temperature reached -22 °C, however Andrés re-measured 70% of the stakes installed between 2007 and 2009 with the help of Joy (guide ALE). Rodrigo and Andy (Jose Uribe) conducted radar tests SIRAHT in its terrestrial version , despite some initial problems was possible to detect the 1400 meters thick.


Andrés and ALE guide went to take GPS measurements


Andy (José Uribe) testing with the radar


On December 3, the GPS measurement tasks progressed satisfactorily, snow and lichens samples were taken for the study by Pedro Labarca and his team. Were performed crack detection aboard the tractor Camoplast using radar GSSI (400 MHz).


Andrés Rivera collecting lichens at the Union Glacier rock outcrop


Tractor Camoplast help in detecting cracks and radar tasks


On December 5, were made cracks detections with radar in the part northeastern of the camp and in the nunatak where is the GPS base station.


Measurements made on December 5





Rivera, A. R. Zamora, Uribe, J., Jaña, R., and J. Oberreuter (2014): "Recent ice dynamic and surface mass balance of Union Glacier in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.", The Cryosphere, 8,1445-1456, doi:10.5194/tc-8-1445-2014.


Rivera, A. , R. Zamora, C. Rada, J. Walton & S. Proctor (2010): "Glaciological investigations on Union Glacier, Ellsworth Mountains, West Antarctica." Annals of Glaciology, 51(55), 91-96.