Alaska Videopodcast: Mendenhall Glacier – Part 1 of 2

Nearly 12 miles long and nearly 300 feet thick, Mendenhall Glacier like 99% of Alaska’s other glaciers is receding. The Summer glacial melt was well underway on our tour of the site on Aug 16, 2010. The beautiful blue shades of ice, are due to the compressed, older glacial ice structure containing less pockets of oxygen which tends to produce whiter tones of ice – similar to snow. The surrounding rock face near where Mendenhall spills out to Mendenhall Lake reveals how much recession has occurred in the last 10-15 years. Annual snowfall in the Juneau Glacier Field averages close to 100 inches / year…as more glaciers are in retreat, the effects of a warming climate and increased heating due to the exposure of darker, non-reflective rock materials continues to encourage further reduction glacial coverage – in some cases, this process is occurring amazingly fast – as seen at nearby South Sawyer Glacier. A look at calving at South Sawyer Glacier to come.

By robmayeda