Hubbard Glacier

Hubbard Glacier - Canadian Glacier Inventory Project
The Hubbard Glacier taken from Yakutat Bay (Source: http://www.compusmart.ab.ca/
mcgregor/Pictures/Alaska/index.htm. Photographs taken by Lloyd McGregor.)

Location: Hubbard Glacier begins from Mount Logan (McGregor, 1998) located in the Yukon Territory in Canada and stretches out, towards the sea to Yakutat Bay and Disenchantment Bay in the state of Alaska, United States. It is joined by Valerie Glacier from the west before it surges forward, towards the sea (Parknet, 2007).

Images:
Hubbard Glacier - Canadian Glacier Inventory Project




















Valerie Glacier joins the Hubbard Glacier from the west (left side of image). The Russell Fiord is located at the bottom right-hand side of the image and Disenchantment Bay is located at the bottom left-hand side of the image. (Source: USGS. http://earthshots.usgs.gov/Hubbard/Hubbard. Satellite image taken on Sept.11. 1986)

Click here for historical aerial photographs of Hubbard Glacier.

Glacial Characteristics:
The Hubbard Glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in North America.

It is associated with the greatest glacial lake outburst worldwide.


History:
In 1986 and 2002, the seaward movement of the Hubbard Glacier pushed subglacial sediment across the entrance of the Russell Fiord and has subsequently, blocked the entrance of the Russell Fiord twice, creating the Russell Lake basin. The basin was rapidly filled with water from coastal mountain streams leading into the basin, and meltwater from Hubbard Glacier (Trabant et. al., 2003). Over the course of two and half months, the peak water level in Russell Lake reached 18.6 m above sea level (USGS, 2007). In both 1986 and 2002, the rise in lake water levels rose high enough to cause a collapse of the dams and the water spilled out into the Yakutat Bay in Alaska (Trabant et. al., 2003).
Hubbard Glacier - Canadian Glacier Inventory Project
The advance and retreat movements of the Hubbard Glacier from 1895 to 2001 (Source:
USGS, 2003 Jan., http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-001-03/. February 6, 2007)

The following series of photographs were compiled by the USGS. They show an eastward view of a small section of the Hubbard Glacier terminus and the "squeeze-push" moraine in front of Gilbert Point. The moraine blocked the tidal exchange between Disenchantment Bay (bottom of photos) and Russell Fiord (top of photo). Subsequently, this created Russell Lake that was previously mentioned above.

Hubbard Glacier - Canadian Glacier Inventory ProjectFrom late May to early June, the glacier
pushed moraine sediment across the Russell Fiord (USGS, 2007).















May 20, 2002

June 14 2002By early June, the moraine grew large
enough to block the tidal exchange between
Disenchantment Bay and Russell Fiord
(USGS, 2007).






June 14, 2002

June 20 2002A small amount of water leaked between
Russell Lake and Disenchantment Bay but the lake leveled rised at 0.24m per day
(USGS, 2007).






June 20, 2002

June 29 2002
June 29, 2002
(Photo by National Park Service)

July 03 2002
July 3, 2002
(Photo by National Park Service)

July 16 2002
July 16, 2002
(Photo by US Forest Service)

July 21, 2002By late July, the Russell Lake was

completely sealed off from Disenchantment Bay and the Russell Fiord (USGS, 2007).







July 21, 2002 (Photo by US Forest Service)

August 10 2002On August 10th, water was observed flowing over the dam. On August 11th and 12th, there was a heavy rainfall with approximately 4 inches of precipitation recorded on August 12th alone. This event may have altered the balance in favour of dam erosion completely sealed off from Disenchantment Bay and the Russell Fiord (USGS, 2007).


August 10, 2002 (Photo by National Park Service)

August 14 2002On August 14th, the lake level had peaked at
18.6m above sea level and was beginning to
drop. The peak discharge rate was recorded around midnight with an average rate of 54 000 cubic metres per second (USGS, 2007).




August 14, 2002 (Photo by National Park Service)

August 15 2002On August 15th, the lake returned to a fiord.
This episode left a 200 m wide entrance in
Russell Fiord and the moraine dam was gone (USGS, 2007).






August 15, 2002 (Photo by National Park Service)

This was the second largest glacial lake outburst worldwide with an average peak discharge rate of 54 000 cubic metres per second. The largest glacial lake outburst is also associated with the Hubbard Glacier. It was the 1986 Russell Lake outburst, with a recorded average peak discharge rate of 105 000 cubic metres per second (USGS, 2007).

Glacier Behaviour: The Hubbard Glacier is extensively studied because it has been advancing at a rate of 80 feet per year since 1895. If it continues to advance at this rate, it will block the Russell Fiord and create one of the largest glacier-dammed lake in North America (USGS, 2007).

Since 1895, Hubbard Glacier has been thickening and advancing towards the Gulf of Alaska. This is attributed to the calving glacier cycle, which occurs when a glaciers' advance and retreat is controlled more by the mechanics of terminus and is independent from climate flutuations (USGS, 2007).

Type:
A tidewater glacier

Altitude: At the face, it is 27 m (90 ft) high (Answers.com, 2007)

Length: 122 km (76 miles)

Width: Spreads across the valley ~64 km (40 miles) wide (Cruising2Alaska)

Face of the glacier is 9.6 km (6 miles) wide (Answers.com, 2007)

Volume/Mass: Estimated by an atmosphere/glacier hierarchial modeling system to be 0.3 m w.e./year (Zhang et. al., 2007)

Tourism: Very popular destination for cruiseships

Interesting Facts: Hubbard Glacier was named in 1890 after Gardiner G. Hubbard who was the founder and first president of the National Geographic Society (USGSb, 2007)

References:
Answer.com, 2007., Hubbard Glacier. http://www.answers.com/topic/hubbard-glacier. Accessed on March 13, 2007.

Cruising2Alaska, 2004., Hubbard Glacier. http://www.cruising2alaska.com/destinations/
hubbard_glacier.htm. Accessed on March 13, 2007.

McGregor, L., 10.05.1998., Hubbard Glacier, Alaska, USA. http://www.compusmart.ab.ca/
mcgregor/pictures/alaska/index.htm. Accessed on February 6, 2007.


Parknet, National Park Service, 03.13.2007. Hubgard Glacier: Geology in Action!. http://www.nps.gov/archive/wrst/hubbardglacier.htm. Accessed on March 13, 2007.

Trabant et. al.
, 2003 Jan., USGS: Hubbard Glacier, Alaska: Growing and Advancing in Spite of Global Climate Change and the 1986 and 2002 Russell Lake Outburst Floods. http://pubs.usgs.
gov/fs/fs-001-03/. Accessed on February 6, 2007.


Wikipedia, 01.18.2007.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubbard_glacier. Accessed on February 6, 2007.

USGS, 01.03.2007. Hubbard Glacier, Alaska. http://ak.water.usgs.gov/glaciology/hubbard/. Accessed on February 6, 2007.

USGS(b), 03.12.2007. Hubbard Glacier. http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnis/web_query.GetDetail
?tab=Y&id=1894753. Accessed on March 13, 2007.

Zhang, J., Bhatt, U., Tangborn, W. & Lingle, C., 2007. Estimation of future glaciers mass balances using an atmosphere/glacier hierarchial modeling system. Geophysical Research Abstracts, v. 9, 05959. http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU2007/05959/EGU2007-J-05959.
pdf?PHPSESSID=b3f6df58394c554154b513.
Accessed on March 13, 2007.

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