The Opening of a New Landscape: Columbia Glacier at Mid-retreat


  • Mohi Kumar


Glaciers are powerful agents of change on the Earth's surface because of their influence on climate, hydrology, sea level, and landforms. Though fast moving on geological timescales, to the human eye most glaciers seem stationary and unchanging. An exception is Alaska's Columbia Glacier, which terminates in Prince William Sound. This glacier's terminus has retreated about 17 kilometers from its position in the early 1980s—about two thirds of a kilometer each year.