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Go Alaska Tours | Alaska Travel Guide - Hubbard Glacier



Hubbard Glacier, Alaska
 
From its source on Mount Logan in the Yukon territory, Hubbard Glacier stretches 76 miles to the sea at Yakutat and Disenchantment Bays. It is the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska, with an open calving face over six miles wide. Before it reaches the sea, Hubbard is joined by the Valerie Glacier to the west, which, through forward surges of its own ice, has contributed to the advance of the ice flow that experts believe will eventually dam the Russell Fiord from Disenchantment Bay waters.

Glaciers are seldom known for the ability to travel quickly, but Hubbard Glacier has been regarded as the "Galloping Glacier" ever since it dammed Russell Fjord in 1986. It created a lake behind it and trapped many marine species. The Hubbard Glacier ice margin has continued to advance for about a century. In 1986, the glacier temporarily closed the connection between Russell Fiord and Disenchantment Bay. In spring 2002, the glacier again approached Gilbert Point. It pushed a terminal moraine ahead of its face and closed the opening again in July. On August 14, the terminal moraine was washed away after rains had raised the water level behind the dam it formed to 61 feet above sea level.

Situated at the head of Yakutat Bay, in Disenchantment Bay, the sail up to Hubbard is both leisurely and beautiful. Small ice bergs, sometimes with sea birds or seals resting on them, float in the water which is glacial blue. Seals calve on the ice bergs here as Orca whales do not visit the bay.

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