Hubbard Glacier, near Yakutat, Alaska is the largest non-polar tidewater glacier in the world. It encompasses an area of ~3900 sq. km, flowing 120 km from the flanks of Mt. Logan (5959 m elev) in the Wrangell - St. Elias Mountains (Canada) to sea level where its terminus widens to over 13 km across the head of Disenchantment Bay and the entrance to Russell Fjord. In contrast to most glaciers in Southeast Alaska, Hubbard Glacier is thickening and has been advancing for well over 200 years. The terminal lobe periodically advances so that it touches Gilbert Point and pinches off Russell Fjord (to the right in the topography/bathymetry figure below). This causes the fjord to flood, which affects the water chemistry, sediment concentration, stream gradients and circulation in the fjord.
The basic objectives of this study are to document the formation of the ice dam and analyze the processes, mechanics and factors determining method and style of closure, dam stability and or failure. Understanding the dynamics of the ice margin is crucial to understanding how ice dams are created and their performance as a permanent closure to Russell Fjord. We use ground-based observations (GPS, TLS, time-lapse cameras, ship-surveys) and remote sensing techniques to understand Hubbard Glacier's seasonal flow variability, and closure history.
This project is in collaboration with: