Crevasse in the Mozama Glacier on Mount Baker, Washington
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A crevasse may be covered, but not necessarily filled, by a snow bridge made of the previous year's snow. Falling into a hidden crevasse that is covered by a weak snow bridge is thus a danger for mountaineers. Anyone planning to travel on a glacier should be trained in crevasse rescue.
Fracture mechanics has been used to study the growth of crevasses on glaciers. The maximum depth of a dry crevasse, predicted using an estimate of the fracture toughness of ice, is about 30 m. However, crevasses deeper than 30 m have been observed. The presence of water in a crevasse can significantly increase its penetration. Water-filled crevasses may reach the bottom of glaciers or ice sheets and provide a direct hydrologic connection between the surface, where significant summer melting occurs, and the bed of the glacier, where additional water may lubricate the bed and accelerate ice flow.
van der Veen, C.J., 1998, Fracture mechanics approach to penetration of surface crevasses on glaciers, Cold Regions Science and Technology, 27, pp. 31-47.
Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, 5th edition. ISBN 0-89886-309-0.
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