As you enter Glacier Bay in Southeast Alaska you will cruise along shorelines completely covered by ice just 200 years ago.
Explorer Captain George Vancouver found Icy Strait choked with ice in 1794, and Glacier Bay was barely an indented glacier. That glacier was more than 4000 ft. thick, up to 20 miles or more wide, and extended more than 100 miles to the St.Elias Range of mountains.
By 1879 naturist John Muir found that the ice had retreated 48 miles up the bay. By 1916 the Grand Pacific Glacier headed Tarr inlet 65 miles from Glacier Bay’s mouth.
The glacier that filled Glacier Bay during the Little Ice Age began its retreat from the mouth of the bay more than 200 years ago and has exposed a magnificent fjord system about 100 km long. The massive glacier retreated past Sitakaday Narrows ~190 years ago, retreated past Whidbey Passage ~160 years ago, and reached the upper end of the main bay by 1860 (~140 years ago). There the glacier bifurcated and the multibeam data set terminates. The amount of fine sediment reaching the lower bay is largely restricted to local runoff and plankton debris. In addition, the currents through Sitakaday Narrows can be as fast as 7 kt, scouring the bottom of fine sediment. So a long history of morphologies is clearly visible on the bottom.
Disrupting the Borg is expensive and time consuming!
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