Glacier Bay

August 17, 2006

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Provided by: Rick Stiles
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; Rick Stiles

The above photo shows a glimpse of the blue ice of Glacier Bay, Alaska as seen on June 6, 2006. Though initially disappointed when the weather closed in, we were actually lucky not to have a dull day -- the overcast skies made the blue coloration of the glacier stand out. Glacier Bay National Park is one of the crown jewels on the U.S. national park system. The Park includes 12 tidewater glaciers that regularly calve into Glacier Bay. As Bay water undercuts the glacier fronts, huge chunks of ice, up to 200 ft or 61 m high, crumble into the sea. Blue coloration results from the relatively long travel path length of sunlight through the glacial ice --longer wavelengths (red and oranges) are absorbed more readily than shorter wavelengths (greens and blues). The small boat in the foreground provides scale to the size of this massive glacier.

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