Steele Glacier

Steele Glacier is located on the north side of Mt. Steele, which is in the St. Elias Mountain Range, Yukon (Bayrock, 1967).

Steele Glacier - Canadian Glacier Inventory Project
Location of Steele Glacier in Yukon south (United States Geological Survey, 2002)

Steele Glacier - Canadian Glacier Inventory Project
The toe of Steele Glacier, which is stagnant and receding (Yukon Geological Survey)

Steele Glacier - Canadian Glacier Inventory Project
Steele Glacier with moraines (RST, 2005)


  • 1940: A minor surge occurred (United States Geological Survey, 2002)
  • 1966: Hazard Lake formed from the surge of Steele Glacier in 1966 (liverman, 1987)
  • 1966-67: after surging for several months, Steele Glacier moved over 1.5 billion tons of ice. The rate of movement was up to 15 m/day (Yukon: Larger than Life, 2001)
  • 1978 (august): Hazard Lake released 19.6 million x 10^6m^3 of water through a tunnel below Steele Glacier (Clarke, 1982)

Glacier Behaviour:
  • 1977 (September): Steele Glacier was in a quiet stage (United States Geological Survey, 2002)

  • Surging (United States Geological Survey, 2002)

  • Steele Glacier is approximately 40 km long (United States Geological Survey, 2002)
Thermal Regime:
  • It is assumed that the surge mechanism for Steele glacier, which is in Steele Creek drainage basin, is thermally controlled because it is sub polar

  • The temperature of Steele Glacier does not exceed -1oC, which was taken on the upper 100 m of the glacier (Collins et al)

Interesting Facts:
  • One of the few glaciers in Yukon to be given scientific attention was Steele Glacier
  • The last surge began in 1965
  • A wave like bulge appeared, moving down the glacier in 1966
  • Between surges, the ablation zone is stagnant and the ice is covered with debris
    (United States Geological Survey, 2002)
  • Many tributaries sustain the upper area of Steele Glacier (Bayrock, 1967)

The toe of Steele Glacier was advancing at different rates in 1966. Through a four day study, the rate of flow was calculated by triangulation. The average of the advance was thirty-seven feet per day across the entire width, about two miles upstream from the toe of Steele Glacier (Bayrock, 1967).
Steele Glacier - Canadian Glacier Inventory Project
The four day study of Steele Glacier showing the rates of advancement (bayrock, 1967)

Point Distance Rate of Flow in feet per 24 hours
Pinnacle 3800 22
Cave 1650 41
Pillar 650 46.5
Boulder 1 250 46.5
Boulder 2 400 40
Edge 0 37
This table shows the 24 hours rate of flow for Steele Glacier (Bayrock, 1967)

Bayrock, L. A., 1967. Catastrophic Advance of the Steele Glacier, Yukon, Canada. Edmonton, Alberta: Boreal Institute, University of Alberta, 35pp.

Clarke, G.K.C., 1982. Glacier outburst floods from ' Hazard Lake', Yukon Territory, and the problem of flood magnitude prediction (Steele Glacier).Journal of Glaciology, 28(98): 3-21.

Collins, S.G., and Clarke, G.K.C., History and Bathymetry of a Surge-dammed Lake. March 7, 2007.

Liverman, D.G.E., 1987. Sedimentation in ice-dammed Hazard Lake, Yukon. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 24(9): 1797-1806.

RST, 11.2005. Karst/Lacustrine/Aeolian/Glacial Landforms. March 11, 2007.

United States Geological Survey, 2002. Glaciers of the St. Elias Mountains. March 11, 2007.

Yukon: Larger than Life, 2001, Fascinating Facts.*D2*C4&a=*99*94T*7D*29. March 11, 2007.

Yukon Geological Survey, Metallogeny of the Kluane Ranges. March 11, 2007.

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