Created 12-Jun-12
45 photos

Alaska’s Columbia Glacier, heralded as the world’s speediest glacier, appears to be on a course to disintegrate and evolve into a spectacular fjord in the coming years.The glacier continues to move at speeds of up to 34 meters a day, astoundingly swift to glaciologists.Descending from the Chugach Mountains into Prince Williams Sound near Valdez, the Columbia Glacier has retreated about 12 kilometers since 1982 and thinned significantly in that time. "The glacier is calving icebergs into Prince Williams Sound much faster than it is accumulating new snow," said Pfeffer, an associate professor in civil, environmental and architectural engineering. "It is spending its capital, in effect. The glacier either will retreat rapidly up the fjord or thin rapidly and essentially disintegrate in an abrupt event."

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