World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Juneau Icefield

View of the Juneau Icefield

The Juneau Icefield is an ice field located just north of Juneau, Alaska and continues north through the border with British Columbia and is the fifth-largest ice field in the Western Hemisphere,[1] extending through an area of 3,900 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi) in the Coast Range ranging 140 km (87 mi) north to south and 75 km (47 mi) east to west. The icefield is the source of many glaciers including the Mendenhall Glacier and the Taku Glacier. The icefield is home to over 40 large valley glaciers and 100 smaller ones. The Icefield serves as a tourist attraction with many travellers flown in by helicopter for quick walks on the 240-to-1,400-metre (790 to 4,590 ft) deep ice and the massive, awe-inspiring crevasses. The icefield, like many of its glaciers, reached its maximum glaciation point around 1700 and has been in retreat since. In fact, of the icefield's 19 notable glaciers, the Taku Glacier is the only one presently advancing. Much of the icefield is contained within the Tongass National Forest. Since 1948, the Juneau Icefield Research Program has monitored glaciers of the Juneau Icefield. On the west side of the icefield, from 1946-2009, the terminus of the Mendenhall Glacier has retreated over 700 metres (0.43 mi).

Locational map of major features of the Alaska Panhandle area including the Juneau Icefield in the northern portion

Eight kilometers to the north, the Herbert Glacier has retreated 540 m (0.34 mi), while Eagle Glacier retreated 700 m (0.43 mi), Gilkey Glacier 3,500 m (2.2 mi) and Llewellyn Glacier 2,800 m (1.7 mi). On the south side of the icefield, the Norris Glacier retreated 1,740 m (1.08 mi), the East Twin Glacier 1,100 m (0.68 mi), the West Twin Glacier 570 m (0.35 mi) with only the Taku Glacier advancing. Surveys reveal the Taku as one of the deepest glaciers of the sub-temperate icefields surveyed at nearly 1,370 metres (4,490 ft) thick. This glacier was advancing in 1890 when viewed by John Muir and had a large calving front. By 1963 the glacier had advanced 5.6 km (3.5 mi). In 1948 the Taku Fjord had been completely filled in with glacial sediment and the glacier no longer calved. From 1948–1986 the glacier had a positive glacier mass balance driving the advance. From 1987–2009 the glacier has had a slightly negative mass balance, not enough to end the advance, but if it continues will soon slow it.

Notable peaks on the Juneau Icefield are Devils Paw and the Mendenhall Towers.

See also


  1. ^

External links

  • Terminus Behavior of Juneau Icefield Glaciers 1948-2005
  • Forest Service overview
  • Juneau Icefield Research Program
  • Canadian Mountain Encyclopedia: Juneau Icefield entry
  • Pictures from the Juneau Icefield Research Program
  • Pulitzer Center Crisis Reporting Juneau Icefield Research (multimedia)
  • A description of the flora and fauna in the Icefield

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.