Hubbard Glacier, Disenchantment Bay

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Hubbard Glacier, Disenchantment Bay

by | Jul 29, 2020

Hubbard Glacier originates in icefields at an elevation of around 11,000 feet (3,400 m) in the Canadian Yukon and flows about 76 miles (122 km) to its terminus in Disenchantment Bay, about 220 miles (355 km) east-southeast of Cordova and 32 air miles (52 km) north-northeast of Yakutat, Alaska.

The glacier was named in 1890 by Israel Cook Russell, of the U.S. Geological Survey, for Gardiner G. Hubbard, a regent of the Smithsonian Institution, and founder and first president of the National Geographic Society. Interested in the exploration of Alaska, he helped to instigate Russell’s 1890 and 1891 expeditions, which were sponsored jointly by the National Geographic Society and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Hubbard Glacier is a surging glacier and it takes about 400 years for ice to traverse the entire length. A surge in May 1986, caused the glacier terminus to cross and block the entrance to Russell Fjord. The dammed meltwater from surrounding glaciers raised the fjord’s water level by 82 feet (25 m) before the ice dam failed on October 8, 1986. In spring 2002, the glacier surged again and closed the opening between Disenchantment Bay and Russell Fjord. The level of the ice-dammed fjord increased by nearly 66 feet (20 m) before the dam broke on August 14, 2002, reestablishing the connection to the bay. A major surge of the Hubbard could again block Russell Fjord and cause an overflow that would endanger the village of Yakutat. Read more here and here. Explore more of Hubbard Glacier and Disenchantment Bay here:

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