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Columbia Glacier, Valdez

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The Columbia Glacier, a glacier in Prince William Sound on the south coast of the U.S. state of Alaska, is one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world, and has been retreating since the early 1980s. It was named after Columbia University, one of several glaciers in the area named for elite U.S. colleges by the Harriman Alaska Expedition in 1899.The Alaska Marine Highway vessel M/V Columbia is named after the Columbia Glacier.SizeThe glacier twists its way through western Alaska's Chugach Mountains. The bald streak at the bottom of the mountains, called the trimline, shows this glacier has lost 1,300ft of thickness. It has also retreated 10.5mi since that measurement was taken.RetreatThe glacier's speed of retreat at the terminus reached a maximum of nearly 30m per day in 2001, when it was discharging icebergs at approximately 7km3 per year; the glacier has subsequently slowed down, resulting in an increase in retreat rate. The terminus has retreated a total of 16km at an average rate of approximately 0.6km per year since 1982. The retreat has been accompanied by nearly 500m of thinning at the present position of the terminus. In the next few decades it is expected to retreat another 15km, to a point where the bed of the glacier rises above sea level. Columbia Glacier's retreat should be completed around 2020. Tidewater glacier advance and retreat is not directly forced by climate (adjacent tidewater glaciers may be simultaneously advancing and retreating), but rapid retreat appears to be triggered by climate-forced long-term thinning.
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Columbia Glacier Reviews
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  • We took Lu Lu belle to visit the Glacier in August 2017. I love traveling and have seen many wonderful sights and the sight of glacier calving and our visit on Lu Lu Belle is something I will remember...  more »
  • Great experience. The cruise has as its purpose the visit to several glaciers. The crossing is spectacular because, despite much of the navigation season (August) took place between blocks of ice into the sea. Many icebergs that, depending on the light they receive from only, take on different colors, blue in particular. Many animals the Crusaders at sea, including whales, sea lions, seals, bald eagles. I would absolutely recommend warm clothing; often it rains, so it is also a useful headgear. If you intend to take pictures/video would not hurt itself with suitable equipment to service the unit from rain. The experience is definitely worthy of being proven.
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  • We went by boat and once the engine off the sounds were mind-blowing. Great activity
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Google
  • Scenery, wildlife and serenity
  • Super!
  • For Colombia, the world's largest glaciers, glacier-ground for Colombia:
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