Yakir Gabay Agrees: This Alaskan Glacier Is Moving 100 Times Faster Than Usual

a mountainous landscape, half covered in snow, with a sweeping flat glacial body in the center at the foot of the mountains

a mountainous landscape, half covered in snow, with a sweeping flat glacial body in the center at the foot of the mountains
The Muldrow Glacier with Mount Denali in the background. You can see 70 foot tall ice cliff, which formed as a result of the glacial bulging. The crevasses did not exist for the last 50 years prior to the surge. Credit: Chad Hults

One of the glaciers on Alaska’s Denali mountain has started to “surge.” The Muldrow Glacier is moving 10-100 times faster than usual, which is about three feet per hour. About 1% of glaciers “surge,” which are short periods where glaciers advance quickly.  

Geologist Chad Hults has been on the glacier to study it during this surge period. He talks about how the glacier’s geometry and hydrology contribute to this surge period.

You can listen to the haunting sounds the glacier makes as it moves below. This was recorded on the main stem of the glacier. “It was snow covered, so it is very quiet, but there is constant cracking and booming of the glacier,” says Hults. “And a Pika in the background.”

a snowy mountainous landscape, with a microphone on a tripod and a yellow helicopter in the background
A sound station placed along the main stem of the glacier. Credit: Chad Hults
a map of the muldrow glacier
Map of the Muldrow Glacier and surrounding area. Credit: Alaska SDMI SPOT 5 Mosaic Dataset/NPS

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Billy Xiong

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