Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers

Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series pp 16-22


Alaskan Glaciers


All glaciers located in the Alaska, USA, in North America.


In spite of Alaska’s remoteness, its glaciers have been studied for more than 150 years. More than 1,000 journal articles, books, and U.S. Geological Survey publications present details about individual glaciers or glacierized regions. Today, most Alaskan glaciers at lower elevations are retreating. However, about a dozen large valley glaciers, including Hubbard, Harvard, Meares, Taku, and Lituya Glaciers (all tidewater or former tidewater glaciers), are currently thickening and advancing. At higher elevations glaciers are thickening or exhibit no change.


Glaciers cover about 75,000 km2 of Alaska (Post and Meier, 1980), about 5% of the State. As shown in Figure 1, the glaciers are situated on 11 mountain ranges (Alaska Range, Aleutian Range, Brooks Range, Chugach Mountains, Coast Mountains, Kenai Mountains, Kigluaik Mountains, St. Elias Mountains, Talkeetna Mountains ...

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