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TitleHistoric retreat of Grand Pacific and Melbern Glaciers, Saint Elias Mountains, Canada: an analogue for decay of the Cordilleran ice sheet at the end of the Pleistocene?
AuthorClague, J J; Evans, S G
SourceJournal of Glaciology vol. 40, no. 134, 1994 p. 205-210, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesGeological Survey of Canada, Contribution Series 12592
PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceBritish Columbia
NTS114P/03; 114P/05; 114P/06
AreaTarr Inlet; Pentice Ridge; Melbern Glacier; Grand Pacific Glacier; Saint Elias Mountains
Lat/Long WENS-137.7500 -137.0000 59.5000 59.0000
Subjectssurficial geology/geomorphology; glaciers; deglaciation; glacial deposits; landforms; Pleistocene; Holocene; Quaternary
Illustrationssketch maps; photographs; aerial photographs
Released2017 01 20
AbstractGrand Pacific and Melbern Glaciers, two of the largest valley glaciers in British Columbia, have decreased over 50% in volume in the last few hundred years (total ice loss = 250 300km3). Melbern Glacier has thinned 300 600 m and retreated 15 km during this period; about 7 km of this retreat occurred between the mid-1970s and 1987, accompanied by the formation of one of the largest presently existing, ice-dammed lakes on Earth. Grand Pacific Glacier, which terminates in Tarr Inlet at the British Columbia-Alaska boundary, retreated 24 km between 1879 and 1912. This rapid deglaciation has destabilized adjacent mountain slopes and produced spectacular ice-marginal land forms. The sediments and land forms produced by historic deglaciation in Melbern-Grand Pacific valley are comparable, both in style and scale, to those associated with the decay of the Cordilleran ice sheet at the end of the Pleistocene (c. 14 10 ka BP). Rates of historic and terminal Pleistocene deglaciation also may be comparable.

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