Johns Hopkins Glacier is one of many glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Named by geophysicist Harry Fielding Reid for his Alma-mater, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. While most of the glaciers in Glacier Bay are receding, Johns Hopkins is one of the few that is advancing and actively calving.
Interestingly, climate change has a strange effect in Glacier Bay. We’re used to thinking of rising water levels associated with the melting of the ice caps, but in Glacier Bay the land is actually rising. This is because as the glaciers recede, the weight of the ice that has been pushing down lessens and the earth, like a sponge, is springing back and rising slightly.
Glacier Bay is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever had the opportunity to visit. It’s rugged landscapes are stunning. The bay is protected by its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is aptly named. There are over 1,000 glaciers in the park, the most famous of them being the 7 tidewater glaciers. Johns Hopkins Glacier is one of the few tidewater glaciers that are actually advancing.
Johns Hopkins Glacier gets its start on the east slopes of Lituya Mountain. Lituya Mountain was the site of two of the largest landslides in history. In 1958 an earthquake kicked off a landslide that dropped an estimated 40 million cubic yards of rock into Lituya Bay. The resulting tsunami measured nearly 1,700 feet high and was the largest tsunami ever recorded.
In 2012 another landslide, measuring 5.5 miles long and .5 miles wide, fell on Johns Hopkins Glacier, and was possibly the largest recorded landslide in North America.
I like the way the glacier seems to form a series of steps or terraces leading back from the bay. The weather, as usual in Glacier Bay, was overcast, so the colors are quite muted. You do get a bit of the unique blue hue of the glacier ice in the center of the glacier.
The scale of the photo is a bit misleading. It looks like we were quite close, but we were actual a few miles away. Glacier Bay is a beautiful, wild place.