Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Michael English

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Variations in the quantity and quality of meltwaters draining Peyto Glacier, Alberta, are assessed to examine to what extent meltwater characteristics might be indicative of any distinctive source and routing of water through a glacierised drainage basin. Continuous monitoring of solute concentrations of the principle melt-stream, Peyto Creek, was undertaken for significant periods in 1982, 1984 and 1987, coupled with measurements of suspended sediment concentration at the glacier terminus. Discharge of meltwater was determined for periods in 1982 and 1987. Supplementary monitoring of hydrogen-ion variation and total solute concentration was undertaken at additional sites within the basin, at a stream draining the accumulation area, and at a groundwater spring in the lower basin. Determination of quantities of deuterium and tritium in different meltwater types in 1989 was used to supplement more detailed records of deuterium content collected in 1978. Records indicate different sources of water for groundwater and bulk meltwater flow, and variations of deuterium content at different elevation bands over the glacier. Examination of short-term variations in solute concentration reveal distinctive behaviour of the glacial drainage net at times of maximum and minimum water pressure, when subglacially enriched pockets of water flow may become integrated with total flow. Differences in the manner of water flow through the accumulation area in the course of the summer are indicated by contrasting water quality signatures of the upper stream between mid and late August 1987. Dynamics of flow variations and suspended sediment concentrations appear stable during the principle periods of study in August 1982 and 1987, suggesting that at Peyto interesting results might be obtained from a concentration of research effort throughout the summer months following initiation of snow-melt.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season