Tiger Glacier, Icy Bay

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Tiger Glacier, Icy Bay

by | Dec 4, 2019

Tiger Glacier starts in the Sargent Icefield on the Kenai Peninsula and flows east for 6 miles (10 km) to Icy Bay, about 34 miles (55 km) east-northeast of Seward and 42 miles (68 km) east-southeast of Whittier, Alaska. The glacier was named in 1910 by Grant and Higgins of the U.S. Geological Survey. Icy Bay is a fjord that extends northeast for 12 miles (19 km) from the terminus of Tiger Glacier. The bay was first explored on June 4, 1794, by Lieutenant Joseph Whidbey who was a member of Captain George Vancouver’s expedition, and it was subsequently named by Vancouver but not shown on his charts.

In 1794, it is very probable that the glaciers in Nassau Fjord, the large bay on the northwest side of Icy Bay, completely filled that fjord and extended into, but not across, the main part of Icy Bay. This, together with the extensive discharge of ice from these glaciers that at the time were probably combined as one, probably prevented close inspection of Icy Bay and the discovery of its upper part. The subsequent errors in mapping arose from Vancouver’s representation of Icy Bay that was copied in later maps, however, he had reported that the bay was “terminated by a compact body of ice that descended from high perpendicular cliffs to the waterside”.

The Tiger Glacier reaches tidewater at the extreme head of Icy Bay. The glacier terminus is now a combination of the Tiger Glacier flowing from the west and an unnamed glacier flowing from the southwest. The glacier terminus is steep and a ledge of rock is emerging from under the ice. Read more here and here. Explore more of Tiger Glacier here:

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