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Roman Motyka, Ph.D.

Research Professor Emeritus, Geophysical Institute, UAF 
Arts and Sciences - Natural Sciences

907-796-6307 (Visit Website)



Ph.D. Geology and Geophysics, 1983, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK
Doctoral Dissertation: Increases and fluctuations in thermal activity at Mount Wrangell, Alaska, determined from glacier melt and mass balance.

M.S. Physics, 1966, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

B.A. Physics, 1964, St. Mary's University, Winona, MN
Honors thesis title: Construction of a mass spectrometer.

Curriculum vitae (PDF|48Kb)Complete list of publications (PDF|114Kb)


  • Tidewater glacier dynamics (LeConte, Taku, and Hubbard Glaciers, SE Alaska; Jakobshavn Isbrae, Greenland)
  • Thinning of Mendenhall Glacier and disintegration of its calving terminus in Mendenhall Lake, SE Alaska
  • Uplift, isostatic rebound, and plate tectonics in Southeast Alaska (NSF)
  • Contribution of Alaska glaciers to global sea level raise (NASA)
  • Developing ice-load models for Glacier Bay and for the Yakutat Icefield, SE Alaska (NASA)


Motyka, R.J., W. P. Dryer, J. M. Amundson, M. Truffer, and M. Fahnestock, 2013, Rapid Submarine Melting Driven by Subglacial Discharge, LeConte Glacier, Alaska. Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 1–6, doi:10.1002/grl.51011Straneo, F.,  P. Heimbach, O. Sergienko, G. Hamilton, G. Catania, S. Griffies, R. Hallberg, A. Jenkins, I. Joughin, R. Motyka, W. T. Pfeffer, S. F. Price, E. Rignot, T. Scambos, M. Truffer, A. Vieliand, 2013, Challenges to understand the dynamic response of Greenland’s marine terminating glaciers to oceanic and atmospheric forcing, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 94, 1131–1144, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00100.Trüssel, B. L. , R. J. Motyka, M. Truffer, C. F. Larsen, 2013. Rapid thinning of lake calving Yakutat Glacier and the collapse of the Yakutat Icefield, Southeast Alaska. Journal of Glaciology, 59(213), 149-161.Mortensen, J.,  J. Bendtsen,R. J. Motyka, K. Lennert, M. Truffer, M. Fahnestock, and S. Rysgaard, 2013. On the seasonal freshwater stratification in the proximity of fast-flowing tidewater outlet glaciers in a sub-Arctic sill fjord. J. of Geophys. Res.: Oceans, 118, 1–14, doi:10.1002/jgrc.20134.Amundson, J.M., J.F. Clinton, M. Fahnestock, M. Truffer, M.P. Lüthi, and R.J. Motyka, 2012. Observing calving-generated ocean waves with coastal broadband seismometers, Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland. Ann. Glaciol., 53(60), 79-85, doi: 10.3189/2012/AoG60A200.Sato, T., Miura, S., Sun, W., Sugano, T.,  Freymueller, J.T.,  Larsen, C.F.,  Ohta, Y., Fujimoto, Inazu, H.D., and Motyka, R.J., 2012. Gravity and uplift rates observed in southeast Alaska and their comparison with GIA model predictions .  J. Geophys. Res., 117, B01401, doi:10.1029/2011JB008485.Post, A., S. O’Neel, R. J. Motyka and G. Streveler. 2011. A complex relationship between calving glaciers and climate, EOS, 92(37):305. doi: 10.1029/2011EO370001.Motyka, R. J., M. Fahnestock, M. Truffer, J. Mortensen, and S. Rysgaard, 2011, Submarine melting of the 1985 Jakobshavn Isbrae floating tongue and the triggering of the current retreat, J. Geophys. Res. - Earth Surface, 116, doi:10.1029/2009JF001632.Colgan, W.,  K. Steffen, W. S. McLamb, W. Abdalati, H. Rajaram, R. Motyka, T. Phillips, and R. Anderson, 2011, An increase in crevasse extent, West Greenland: Hydrologic implications. GEOPHYS. RES. LETT., VOL. 38, L18502, doi:10.1029/2011GL048491.Sato, T.,  C. F. Larsen, S. Miura, Y. Ohta, H. Fujimoto, W. Sun, R. J. Motyka, J. T. Freymueller, 2011. Reevaluation of the viscoelastic and elastic responses to the past and present-day ice changes in Southeast Alaska. Tectonophysics 511 79–88Elliott, J. L., C. F. Larsen, J. T. Freymueller, and R. J. Motyka, 2010, Tectonic block motion and glacial isostatic adjustment in southeast Alaska and adjacent Canada constrained by GPS measurements, J. Geophys. Res., 115, B09407, doi:10.1029/2009JB007139.Motyka, R. J., M. Fahnestock, and M. Truffer, 2010, Volume Change of Jakobshavn Isbrae, West Greenland: 1985 – 1997 – 2007.  Journal of Glaciology, 56(198), 635-646. Amundson, J. M., M. Fahnestock, M. Truffer, J. Brown, M.P. Lüthi, and R.J. Motyka,  2010: Ice melange dynamics and implications for terminus stability, Jakobshavn Isbrae, Greenland. J. Geoph. Res., Earth Surface, VOL. 115, F01005, doi:10.1029/2009JF001405.Truffer, M., R. J. Motyka, M. Hekkers, I. Howat, and M. King, 2009:  Terminus dynamics at an advancing glacier:  Taku Glacier, Alaska.  Journal of Glaciology, 55(194), 1052-1060, (09J006). Connor, C.L. and R. J. Motyka, R.J., 2009: Quaternary Geology of Southeast Alaska and  Juneau : FOP 2008 Fieldtrip Guide Alaska Cell of the Friends of the Pleistocene. Alaska Quaternary Center, Amundson, J. M., M. Truffer, M P Lüthi, M Fahnestock, R. J. Motyka, and M. West, 2008: Glacier, fjord, and seismic response to recent large calving events, Jakobshavn Isbrae, Greenland. Geophys. Res. Lett , VOL. 35, L22501, doi:10.1029/2008GL03528.Motyka, R.J., D. Lawson, D. Finnegan, G. Kalli, B. Molnia, and A. Arendt, 2008.Hubbard Glacier update: another closure of Russell Fiord in the making?Journal of Glaciology, 54(186), 562-564.Ritchie, J.B., C.S. Lingle, R.J. Motyka, M. Truffer, 2008.Seasonal fluctuations in the advance of a tidewater glacier and potential causes: Hubbard Glacier, Alaska, USA. Journal of Glaciology, 54(186), 401-411.Harrison, W.D., R.J. Motyka, and six others, 2008. Another surge of Variegated Glacier, Alaska, USA, 2003/04.Journal of Glaciology, 54(184), 192-194.Wieczorek , G.F.,  E. L. Geist, R. J. Motyka, M. Jakob, 2007. Hazard assessment of the Tidal Inlet landslide and potential subsequent tsunami, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. Landslides, DOI 10.1007/s10346-007-0084-1, 11 p. Motyka, R.J., C.F. Larsen, J.T. Freymueller and K.A. Echelmeyer. 2007.Post Little Ice Age Glacial Rebound in Glacier Bay National Park and Surrounding Areas. Alaska Park Science, 6(1), 36-41.(PDF| 508Kb)Motyka, R.J., D. Lawson, D. Finnegan, G. Kalli, 2007. Hubbard Glacier update: another closure of Russell Fjord in the making? Eos Trans. AGU, 88(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract C41A-0043. 2007.(PDF| 822Kb)E.S. Boyce, R.J. Motyka and M. Truffer. 2007. Flotation and Retreat of a Lake-Calving Terminus, Mendenhall Glacier, Southeast Alaska. Journal of Glaciology, 53(181), 211-224. (PDF| 768Kb)Benson, C., R. Motyka, S. McNutt, M. Lüthi, M. Truffer. 2007. Glacier-volcano interactions n the North Crater of Mt Wrangell, Alaska. Annals of Glaciology, 45, 48–57.(PDF| 540Kb)Motyka, R. J., and M. Truffer. 2007. Hubbard Glacier, Alaska: 2002 closure and outburst of Russell Fjord and postflood conditions at Gilbert Point. J. Geophys. Res., 112, F02004, doi:10.1029/2006JF000475. (PDF| 748Kb)Larsen, C.F., R.J. Motyka, A.A. Arendt, K.A. Echelmeyer, and P.E. Geissler. 2007. Glacier changes in southeast Alaska and northwest British Columbia and contribution to sea level rise. J. Geophys. Res., 112, F01007, doi:10.1029/2006JF000586. (PDF| 1671Kb)Roman J. Motyka, Martin Truffer, Elsbeth M. Kuriger, and Adam K. Bucki. 2006. Rapid erosion of soft sediments by tidewater glacier advance: Taku Glacier, Alaska, USA. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 33, L24504, doi:10.1029/2006GL028467, (PDF| 292Kb)Kuriger, M. Truffer, E.M., R.J. Motyka, and AK Bucki. 2006. Episodic reactivation of large scale push moraines in front of the advancing Taku Glacier, Alaska. J. Geoph. Res., 111(F1), doi:10.1029/2005JF000385. (PDF| 1698Kb)Larsen, CF, RJ Motyka, JT Freymueller, KA Echelmeyer, ER Ivins, 2005. Rapid viscoelastic uplift in southeast Alaska caused by post-Little Ice Age glacial retreat. Earth and Planet. Sci. Lett., 237, 548-560. (PDF| 1081Kb)Larsen, CF, RJ Motyka, JT Freymueller, KA Echelmeyer, and ER Ivins, 2004. Rapid uplift of southern Alaska caused by recent ice loss. Geoph. Journ. Internat., 158, 1118-1133.Motyka, RJ, 2003. Post little ice age uplift at Juneau, Alaska reconstructed from dendrochronology and geomorphology. Quatern. Res., 59, 300-309.Motyka, RJ and KA Echelmeyer, 2003.Taku Glacier on the move again: Active deformation of proglacial sediments. J. Glaciol., 10(164), 50-59.Motyka, RJ, L Hunter, K Echelmeyer, and C Connor, 2003. Submarine melting at the terminus of a temperate tidewater glacier, LeConte Glacier, Alaska. Annals Glaciol., 36, 57-65. (PDF| 300Kb)O'Neel, S, K Echelmeyer, and RJ Motyka, 2003. Short-term variations in calving at a retreating tidewater glacier: LeConte Glacier, Alaska. J. Glaciol., 49(169), 587-598.Motyka, RJ, S O'Neel, C Connor, and KA Echelmeyer, 2002. 20th Century thinning of Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska, and its relationship to climate, lake calving, and glacier run-off. Global Planetary Change, 35(1-2) 93-112.


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