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Showing posts with the label Glacier Bay

The Big Chill

We’re standing on the open deck of the cruise ship staring intently at Margerie Glacier, a few hundred feet in front of us. With cameras ready, my fellow passengers and I are waiting to see the glacier calve and hopefully catch it on film. By now we know what to watch out for. After seeing a few, our ears have become attuned to the “sumdum”, the Tlingit (klink-it) word for the booming sound when ice calves and crashes into the water below.  Calve  is the word for ice breaking from the face of the glacier. Only two hundred years ago, Glacier Bay as we know it now, did not exist. The explorer, Capt. George Vancouver had observed in 1794 that ice measuring 4000 ft. thick and 20 miles wide covered the area and extended 100 miles to the St. Elias Mountain Range. In 1879, the naturalist, John Muir, noted that the ice had retreated some 48 miles. Today, we can see how the glacier has receded since then as we cruised all the way into Tarr inlet, about as far north as we could travel and some 6