Grand Pacific Glacier, Tarr Inlet

Grand Pacific Glacier, Tarr Inlet

by | Feb 11, 2019

Grand Pacific Glacier is about 35 miles (56 km) long, originating in the Saint Elias Mountains about 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Mount Hay, and flowing east into British Columbia and then southeast to Tarr Inlet, in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Alaska. The terminus is now at the Alaska-Canada boundary, about 66 miles (107 km) north of Gustavus.

The glacier was named by John Muir in 1879 when the terminus was at Russell Island in Glacier Bay. In 1892, Harry Fielding Reid, an American geophysicist, found that the front of the glacier had receded into three distinct glaciers. He retained the name “Grand Pacific” for the most northerly and largest, and named the middle one “Johns Hopkins Glacier”. The smallest and most southerly glacier was named “Reid Glacier” in 1899 by the Harriman Expedition.

The Grand Pacific Glacier has now receded 15 miles (24 km) north creating Tarr Inlet, named in 1912 by Lawrence Martin, of the U.S. Geological Survey, for Ralph Stockman Tarr, a professor of physical geography at Cornell University, who visited this fjord in 1911. The glacier terminus is now about 2 miles (3.2 km) wide and the ice face averages about 150 feet (46 m) high. Much of the ice margin is grounded at low tide. Behind the terminus, the ice may thicken to 900 feet (274 m) or more. The Ferris Glacier contributes most of the ice to the western two-thirds of the glacier. Much of the ice is covered by rock debris from landslides and medial moraines. This debris insulates the ice, slows melting, and results in a thicker ice mass than where the ice is clear of debris. In many areas on the glacier, the rock debris is more than 3 feet (0.9 m) thick. Read more here and here. Explore more the Grand Pacific Glacier here:

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