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Alaska Glaciers

The formation of a glacier

Icefields and an estimated 100,000 glaciers, some of immense proportions, cover 5 percent of Alaska's surface.

Alaska Glaciers

Glacier info & facts Glacier overview

Glaciers originated in the mountains. Over time, falling snow piles up in the mountain recesses, and ever so slowly the weight of accumulating snow compacts lower layers into dense ice. When the ice becomes thick enough, it starts to move down hill.

What turns glacial ice blue?As the ice is further compressed by falling snow, the pressure increases and all the air moleculesare squeezed out.Water molecules without air absorb all colours of the spectrum except blue!

Click on a glacier of your choice for more information and an extensive photo- or film impression and the background stories.You can also select a glacier via the interactive map

-Tidewater glacier: a glacier that flows into a bay or the sea. The glacier erodes deep gorges in the mountains on its way down. Example: Hubbard Glacier.-Freshwater glacier: a glacier that ends in a lake. Example: Valdez Glacier.-Hanging glacier: a glacier that descends partway down mountain sides.-Receding glacier: a glacier that melts faster than it advances. Example: Columbia Glacier.-Advancing glacier: a glacier that is advancing faster then it is melting. Example: Meares Glacier.-Calving glacier: a glacier that flows into water and where large chunks of ice break off into the water and float towards the ocean as icebergs. Examples: Hubbard glacier, Meares glacier, Knik glacier, Columbia glacier, Valdez glacier.-Iceberg: broken pieces of glacial ice (and ice sheets). 80-90% of the iceberg is under water. Example: Columbia glacier-Terminus: the end of the glacier.-Terminal Moraine: the ridge of soil that marks the furthest advance of a glacier before it began to recede.-Crevasses: develop when tensions arise in the flowing ice. The large crevasses are found on steep parts of a rapidly flowing glacier Example: Root Glacier-Sometimes a dark stripe can be seen running down the middle of a glacier. This is pulverized rock that was pushed up between two merging glaciers.

Aialik GlacierColumbia GlacierExit GlacierGrand Pacific GlacierHubbard GlacierJohn Hopkins GlacierKnik Glacier

Margerie GlacierMatanuska GlacierMeares GlacierReid GlacierRoot GlacierValdez GlacierWorthington Glacier