Valdez Glacier Stream, Valdez Arm

Valdez Glacier Stream, Valdez Arm

by | Aug 9, 2019

Valdez Glacier starts about 0.7 miles (1.1 km) south of Mount Cashman and flows southeast for 22 miles (35 km) to its terminus at Valdez Glacier Lake, about 4 miles (6.5 km) northeast of Valdez, Alaska. The glacier was named in 1898 by Captain W.R. Abercrombie after Port Valdez. Valdez Summit is a mountain pass and the highest point on a trail over Valdez Glacier that was used by about 3,000 prospectors in 1898 heading for the Klondike. Valdez Glacier Stream is a braided river that flows through a broad outwash plain from Valdez Glacier Lake to Port Valdez.

Port Valdez is a fjord about 13 miles (21 km) long that trends roughly east-west from Valdez Arm to its head at the community of Valdez. The fjord was named on June 16, 1790, by Don Salvador Fidalgo for the celebrated Spanish naval officer Antonio Valdés y Fernández Bazán. The name was later adopted by Captain George Vancouver and then came into local use.

In 1898, steamship companies were promoting the Valdez Glacier Trail as a better route than the Chilkoot Trail from Skagway for miners to reach the Klondike gold fields. The prospectors who believed the promotion found that they had been deceived. The glacier trail was twice as long and very steep, and many men died attempting the crossing, in part by contracting scurvy during the long cold winter without adequate supplies. A town was developed on the flood plain for Valdez Glacier Stream to supply the miners, but the town did not flourish until after the construction of the Richardson Highway in 1899 that connected Valdez and Fairbanks. With a new road and an ice-free port, the community of Valdez became permanently established as the start of the first overland supply route into the interior of Alaska. In 1907, Valdez attempted to be the terminus for a railroad from tidewater to the Kennecott Copper Mine. The mine, located at McCarthy in the heart of the Wrangell-Saint Elias Mountains, was one of the richest copper ore deposits on the continent. However, a right of way dispute led to one man being killed and several injured, and a half-completed tunnel in Keystone Canyon. A rail line to Kennecott was later established from the coastal community of Cordova. Read more here and here. Explore more of Valdez Glacier Stream here:

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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. 

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