Johns Hopkins Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Johns Hopkins Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

by | Sep 28, 2019

Johns Hopkins Glacier flows east for 8.5 miles (14 km) from Lituya Mountain to the head of Johns Hopkins Inlet near the terminus of Clark Glacier, in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, 59 miles (95 km) northwest of Gustavus, Alaska. The glacier was named in 1893 by H.F. Reid for Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland that was chartered in 1869 and opened in 1876.

Johns Hopkins Inlet is a fjord that starts at the terminus of the Johns Hopkins Glacier and trends northeast for 11 miles (18 km) to the head of Glacier Bay. The inlet was named by W.S. Cooper in 1931 for the Johns Hopkins Glacier that once occupied the entire inlet. In 1893, when the glacier terminus was at Russell Island in Glacier Bay, H.F. Reid named it Grand Pacific Glacier and he called the inlet at that end of Glacier Bay “Reid Inlet”. As the glacier retreated two inlets emerged, one was called “Tarr Inlet” and the other, at the terminus of the Johns Hopkins Glacier, retained the name of “Reid Inlet”. With the further retreat of the Johns Hopkins Glacier, and the gradual lengthening of Reid Inlet, the historical relationship to Reid Glacier became obscure and in 1954, the Board of Geographic Names changed the name from Reid Inlet to Johns Hopkins Inlet.

The Johns Hopkins Glacier is one of the few advancing tidewater glaciers of the Fairweather Range. The glacier continues to advance together with Gilman Glacier as a single ice front. The glacier is about 1 mile (1.6 km) wide, 250 feet (76 m) high at the terminus, and 200 feet (61 m) deep at the waterline. It is formed from numerous tributary glaciers, many of which extend 12 miles (19 km) or more into the surrounding peaks. About 50 medial moraines develop from the joining of these tributary glaciers. The debris in these moraines can be seen in the ice face and extending up the glacier as prominent black bands. This debris is transported in and on the ice and released either by melting of the ice face or calving of icebergs into Johns Hopkins Inlet. Meltwater from the glacier is also discharged from submarine tunnels or conduits located near both the eastern and western edges of the glacier. Sometimes this water can be seen emerging at the inlet surface as fountains. Read more here and here. Explore more of Johns Hopkins Glacier 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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