Gilbert Point, Hubbard Glacier photos, Alaska.

Gilbert Point, Hubbard Glacier and Disenchantment Bay, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

hey Folks,

As I said, Mark got us closer. And Closer. This photo is of Gilbert Point, famous because the glacier has advanced enough at times past that it closed the gap, and dammed up Russell Fjord, which sits behind the gap – around to the right in this photo, behind the cliff face. The Hubbard Glacier has been advancing pretty rapidly recently, and in 2002 it closed off Gilbert Point. This had occurred previously in 1986. It essentially turns Russell Fjord into a giant dam, stranding wildlife in the area, including whales, sea lions, fish, etc. Eventually the pressure builds up enough that the dam bursts, and water flows out of the strait at some insane volumes – it was in the millions of cubic feet per second. It looks like it may well happen again this year. Build up of sediment at the base of Gilbert Pt has closed the gap somewhat, and the ice has really built up a strong solid base, meaning it doesn’t calve as much as other times, which means the ice may close off the fjord again. This is what Mark told me anyway – and he knows his stuff pretty well.

He surprised me when he said if we go around the corner we’d have a good chance of getting some calving action. Sounded good to me, until I saw the little strait through which we passed – about 100m wide, timidly under the towering Icy wall of the Hubbard Glacier. Pretty scary stuff, IMO.

Cheers

Carl

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