Gilkey Glacier, AK – 30 Years of Thinning

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This photo pair shows the Gilkey Glacier (main glacier in the valley) in southeast Alaska. It’s hard to get a sense of the enormity of this scene. The distance from the photo location to where the glacier curves around the corner to the left is ~10 km. The amount of thinning of the glacier surface is on the order of 200-300 m.

Gilkey Glacier is one of the largest outlet glaciers of the Juneau Icefield. It is banded by numerous medial moraines and is a world-famous example of ogives (the arcs of alternating lighter and darker ice), which form at the base ice falls. It is named for Arthur Gilkey – mountaineer and early leader of the Juneau Icefield Research Program.

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August 31, 2015

Great pair, Matt. It also shows another overlooked sign of glacier thinning: the medial moraines are getting wider.