McKeon Flats, Wosnesenski River

McKeon Flats, Wosnesenski River

by | Jun 22, 2020

The McKeon Flats is located at the head of Neptune Bay on the south shore of Kachemak Bay, about 14 miles (23 km) northeast of Seldovia and 9 miles (14.5 km) southeast of Homer, Alaska. The local name was first reported in the 1940s on maps by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. The Wosnesenski River flows through the McKeon Flats. The river is locally named after the glacier that starts in the Kenai Mountains and flows generally west to its terminus about 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Homer.

The Wosnesenski Glacier carved a U-shaped valley and has since retreated into the Kenai Mountains. The steep-walled valley was subsequently inundated by rising sea level. However, the resulting embayment was very shallow and eventually filled with sediment creating the flats. In addition to sea level rise, Kachemak Bay and the west side of the southern Kenai Peninsula are part of a larger area that has experienced regional (tectonic) subsidence at least since the most recent deglaciation. Evidence of subsidence includes the classic submergent morphology of drowned valleys, as well as drowned middens. Parts of the coastline, such as the McKeon Flats, are presently building fan deltas in areas where the net rate of sedimentation is greater than the rate of subsidence.

The Wosnesenski Glacier is named after Ilya Gavrilovich Voznesensky, a Russian explorer and naturalist with the Russian Academy of Sciences, who collected biological specimens and cultural artifacts from the Russian Far East and North and South America. He is known especially for a 10-year expedition in Russian America (parts of present day Alaska and California), which he explored from 1839 to 1849. The expedition collected around 400 previously unknown species of plant and animals and established the world’s largest collection of ethnological artifacts of Russian America. Read more here and here. Explore more of McKeon Flats and Neptune Bay here:

About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2021 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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