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Modeling the re-appearance of a crashed airplane on Gauligletscher, Switzerland


Compagno, Loris; Jouvet, Guillaume; Bauder, Andreas; Funk, Martin; Church, Gregory; Leinss, Silvan; Lüthi, Martin P (2019). Modeling the re-appearance of a crashed airplane on Gauligletscher, Switzerland. Frontiers in Earth Science, 7:online.

Abstract

In this study we used a modeling approach to reconstruct the space-time trajectory of the Dakota airplane which crashed on the Gauligletscher in 1946 and was subsequently buried by snow accumulation. Our aim was to localize its present position and predict when and where it would re-appear at the surface. As a first step we modeled the ice flow field and the evolution of Gauligletscher from 1946 using a combined Stokes ice flow and surface mass balance model, which was calibrated with surface elevation and velocity observations. In a second step the modeled ice velocity fields were integrated forward-in-time, starting from the crash location. Our results suggest that the main body of the damaged aircraft will be released approximately between 2027 and 2035, 1 km upstream of the parts that emerged between 2012 and 2018. Our modeling results indicate that the recently found pieces of the Dakota might have been removed from the original aircraft location and moved down-glacier before being abandoned in the late 40s.

Abstract

In this study we used a modeling approach to reconstruct the space-time trajectory of the Dakota airplane which crashed on the Gauligletscher in 1946 and was subsequently buried by snow accumulation. Our aim was to localize its present position and predict when and where it would re-appear at the surface. As a first step we modeled the ice flow field and the evolution of Gauligletscher from 1946 using a combined Stokes ice flow and surface mass balance model, which was calibrated with surface elevation and velocity observations. In a second step the modeled ice velocity fields were integrated forward-in-time, starting from the crash location. Our results suggest that the main body of the damaged aircraft will be released approximately between 2027 and 2035, 1 km upstream of the parts that emerged between 2012 and 2018. Our modeling results indicate that the recently found pieces of the Dakota might have been removed from the original aircraft location and moved down-glacier before being abandoned in the late 40s.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > General Earth and Planetary Sciences
Language:English
Date:12 July 2019
Deposited On:03 Jan 2020 14:28
Last Modified:22 Apr 2020 21:56
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:2296-6463
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2019.00170

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