2000 Calving - Glacier Bay NP
Capturing falling ice requires luck - my first attempts with digital photos were not all keepers. The Larsons and Settevigs were on this Alaska barbershop cruise with us in 2000.
Worldwide, the glacial facts are staggering. Glaciers and polar ice store more water than lakes and rivers, groundwater, and the atmosphere combined. Ten percent of our world is under ice today, equaling the percent being farmed. If the world's ice caps thawed completely, sea level would rise enough to inundate half of the world's cities. The Greenland and Antarctic ice caps are 2 miles thick. Alaska is four percent ice.
Glaciers form because snowfall in the high mountains exceeds snowmelt. The snowflakes first change to granular snow, round ice grains, but the accumulating weight soon presses it into solid ice. Eventually, gravity sets the ice mass flowing downslope at up to seven feet per day. The park includes some 12 tidewater glaciers that calve into the bay. The show can be spectacular. As water undermines some ice fronts great blocks of ice up to 200 feet high break loose and crash into the water. Johns Hopkins Glacier calves such volumes of ice that it is seldom possible to approach its ice cliffs closer than about two miles. The glaciers seen here today are remnants of a general ice advance, the Little Ice Age, that began about 4,000 years ago. This advance in no way approached the extent of continental glaciation during Pleistocene time. 1.3 MP Epson PC 850Z
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