Columbia Glacier

General Characteristics:
Columbia Glacier is a major outlet glacier flowing from the northwest section of the icefield. It drains from the western slopes of Snow Dome and eastern slopes of Mount Columbia. The glacier drops rapidly from the plateau area over a major ice fall thus creating very well-defined ogives (Ommanney, 2002).

Columbia Glacier - Canadian Glacier Inventory Project
Figure 1: Map of Columbia Glacier (NRC, 2007 )

The earliest recession of ice from its maximum stand occured in early 18th century.
A chronology of recessional morains was established and dated with the outer one at 1724 and the others at 1824, 1854, 1864, 1871, 1907, 1909 and 1919. The glacier retreated 394m between 1724 and 1924 and advanced 1km between 1966-1977. After 1975, the glacier advanced further to completely fill the large proglacial lake, a distance of approximately 800m (Ommanney, 2002).

Mass Balance:
The glacier is not surveyed regularly, so it is not known if it is advancing (Ommanney, 2002).

Columbia Glacier - Canadian Glacier Inventory Project
Figure 2: Columbia Glacier in 1964 (Ommanney, 2002)

Name: Columbia Glacier
Latitude: 52 09'6"
Longitutde: 117 22'8"
Province: Alberta
Length: 8.5km
Width: 0.6-0.7km
Elevation: 1500m
Classification: Outlet Glacier
Ice tongue flow: west northwesterly
ELA: 2140m
(Ommanney, 2002)


Columbia Glacier Progression