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The spectacular fjords of the south-central and southeast coasts of Alaska are, in addition to being popular tourist attractions, testimonials to the power of glacial erosion and the speed of calving glacier retreat.

Within the past 100 to 400 years, most of the present-day fjords of Alaska were occupied by tidewater glaciers at extended coastal positions. But elevated iceberg calving rates forced glacier termini back dramatically in the late 19th century One example is the Grand Pacific glacier, which retreated 33 km in just 20 years through Tarr Inlet in Glacier Bay