Yale Glacier, College Fjord



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Yale Glacier, College Fjord

by | Mar 27, 2019

Yale Glacier is a massive tidewater glacier that starts between Mount Cardozo and Mount Einstein and flows southwest for 17 miles (27 km) to Yale Arm in College Fiord, about 43 miles (69 km) west of Valdez, Alaska.

In 1794, members of the Vancouver Expedition came within about 12 miles (19 km) of the glacier. In 1887, Samuel Applegate, of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, commanded the schooner Nellie Juan and surveyed this area but also did not approach the glacier terminus. In 1898, the huge glaciers at the head of College Fjord were called “Twin Glaciers” by Captain E.F. Glenn, of the U.S. Army, on the steamship Valencia. The following year the Harriman Alaska Expedition, on the steamship George W. Elder, named the glacier in the east arm of College Fjord for Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut.

Applegate’s map of Yale Glacier in 1887 indicates the glacier terminus was near or just beyond College Point, although he did not get closer than 12 miles (19 km). Aerial photographs by Bradford Washburn of the U.S. Geological Survey in 1937, show the glacier terminus was located at about the same position that it occupied when it was visited by the Harriman Alaska Expedition in 1899. The photograph shows several tributary valley glaciers descending the east wall of the fjord, and the two closest to the terminus were detached from the Yale Glacier. In 2006, Yale Glacier had retreated about 3.7 miles (6 km) from the 1937 position and had thinned substantially, in places by more than 820 feet (250 m). All the eastern tributaries had retreated and were detached from the Yale Glacier. An island and a large area of glacially sculpted bedrock had emerged from the retreating glacier. Read more here and here. Explore more of Yale Glacier here:

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