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A Few Good Men

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Pykrete a glacier???

If you have ever seen the show Mythbusters, you would know of a material called Pykrete. It is 10-15% sawdust mixed 85-90% water. When frozen this material takes a far longer time to melt than regular ice, it is also much tougher than ice too. What I saw was a possible short term solution to a long-term problem. Melting glaciers. What if you could stop a large glacier from melting, using this same idea? You would have to disperse the material (sand, sawdust) on the glacier in winter, preferably before a large snow storm. America’s fastest growing glacier, Crater glacier in Mount St. Helen’s crater, is well on its way to being the lower 48’s largest glacier, and even though none of the ice pre-dates 1980, at its thickest point its over 600 feet deep. It is advancing at a rate of 50 ft a year and thickening 15 feet per year. Most of the glacier is below the average height for glaciers in Washington State, so why is it growing? Rock slides and ash. They are acting just like sawdust in Pykrete, insulating the ice and keeping it from melting. Many rock glaciers can also form below the normal height of glaciers because of this property. So, could this work, does any one have better solutions or ideas?

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Closing Statement from A Few Good Men

If anything, a study should be done that factors in cost effectiveness, effectiveness, and environmental impact of this idea. Hopefully next time I post more people will find it interesting.

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    Jun 20 2012: This was a great question, and I'm sorry it didn't take off! Sounds like it might be a good challenge for the Mythbusters, though... one thought is, if we could actually pull something like this off, would the addition of 15% sawdust or other material to the ice have a negative impact on the wildlife who depend on the ice? I suppose not more of an impact than losing the ice altogether, eh?