Blue Glacier field station was established in 1957, and an
almost continuous record of the mass balance of the glacier
exists since then.
- Blue Glacier, Mt. Olympus, Olympic National Park.
- Howard Conway, Research Professor, Earth and Space Sciences, 206-685-8085,
- Approximately 10 acres.
- Main building and one outbuilding.
- Propane supply for heat and cooking, seismic recorder that is part of
the UW's seismic network.
- Minimal accommodation for up to 4 researchers.
- Special Use Permit from National Park, renewed
- Recent Usage
- Research: Mass balance studies of Blue Glacier and other glaciological
studies. Typically a joint maintenance and research visit of about one
week is made each year. The seismic record is approximately 20 years
long and fills an otherwise conspicuous gap in the seismic network for
the state. Current research is directed toward maintaining the mass balance
record and retrieving marker stakes from previous studies. Past research
has included radiation balance, the energy budget, mountain weather, air
chemistry, migration of particles through snow, cloud physics, and comparative
glacier studies. The site has potential for monitoring trace gases and
pollutants above the marine inversion layer, complementing Cheeka
Peak, which samples air below the inversion. Instruction: No
formal classes, although a few glaciology students visit the site for
- Non-UW: Occasionally of use to National Park Service in assisting
injured climbers, hikers.
- Usage Fee
- Maintenance expenses as needed.
- Fair. It was refurbished in the mid 90's, but routine maintenance is difficult.
- Two-way radio to National Park Ranger Station near
- By foot (20-25 mi.). Helicopter transport of personnel is
allowed only in emergencies. Equipment may be transported by
helicopter only in non-summer months.
- Unique Environment
- One of only a few permanent research stations alongside a
glacier in the world (under current rules, permission for such
a station would not be granted). It is in a designated
wilderness area, so there are restrictions on activities.
- H. Conway, Geophysics; Steve Warren, T.
Grenfell, Atmospheric Sciences.