Reid Glacier, Glacier Bay

Reid Glacier, Glacier Bay

by | Mar 13, 2019

Reid Glacier flows north for 11 miles (18 km) to Reid Inlet, in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, about 50 air miles (81 km) northwest of Gustavus, Alaska. The glacier was named by members of the Harriman Expedition in 1899 for Harry Fielding Reid.

Reid was a geologist and professor at the Case School of Applied Sciences and Johns Hopkins University, who visited Glacier Bay in 1890 and 1892 and made a study of the glaciers in the area. At the time of the Harriman Expedition, the name “Reid Inlet” was applied to the head of Glacier Bay which was the terminus of the Grand Pacific and Johns Hopkins Glaciers. Subsequently, these glaciers have retreated, uncovering Tarr and Johns Hopkins Inlets. Reid Glacier has also retreated from the valley it formerly occupied to form another inlet. The name “Reid Inlet” is now restricted to this newer feature.

Like Lamplugh Glacier to the west, the Reid Glacier originates in the Brady Icefield. Ice flow rates have not been measured but are estimated at 15 feet (4.5 m) per day. Both the eastern third and western third of the glacier are grounded, and only the central section is affected by high tides when calving may occur. Sediments deposited from streams draining the glacier along the eastern and western margins have gradually filled the inlet in front of the glacier and the deposits are exposed at low tides. The center of the glacier continues to slowly recede at about 30 to 50 feet (9 to 15 m) per year, while the remainder of the margin has been receding at about 30 feet (9 m) per year and progressively thinning. Crevasses at the terminus are slowly closing as flow rates decrease and the terminus becomes terrestrial. Read more here and here. Explore more of Reid Glacier here:

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