In this study we used Elmer/Ice 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.
Read more: Compagno L., G. Jouvet, A. Bauder, M. Funk, G. J. Church, S. Leinss and M. P. Lüthi, 2019. Modeling the re-appearance of a crashed airplane on Gauligletscher, Switzerland, Frontiers in Earth Science, 7, 170, DOI: 10.3389/feart.2019.00170