Friday, July 3, 2009

Columbia Icefield Glacier

Columbia Icefield, What is it?

Is a massive sheet of ice covering an area
larger than the city of Vancouver. It sits on
top of a high mountain plateau, surrounded by
11 huge peaks. Most of it is beyond our range of
vision from the highway. It feeds six major glaciers,
the best know of which is the Athabasca Glacier.

What is it the Athabasca Glacier?

Is The huge tongue of ice you see spilling out of the
Columbia Icefiled down toward the highway.
Visitors often confuse the Athabasca Glacier
with the Columbia Icefield. However, the
Athabasca Glacier makes up only 2%
(one-fiftieth) of the total mass of the
Columbia Icefield.







How big is it?

The Columbia Icefield covers 326 square kilometres
or 125 square miles. It is about 30 Km (18.6 mi) at its maximun width
from east to west, and 25 Km (15.5 mi) from north to south.
The Columbia Icefield is the largest of the 17 icefields found in the
Canadian Rockies. In fact, it is the largest icefield found in the
interior of all of North America.






How deep is the ice?

In many places, the ice measures up to 285 metres (935 ft) deep,
closer to the height of a 100-storey building. That is about 15 metres
(50 ft) less deep than it was 25 years ago, showing the dramatic effects
of global warming.

How does an Icefield form?

An icefield forms when more snow accumulates each winter
than melts each summer. The weight of the snow compacts
the snow underneath, forming ice. It takes the weight of 30
metres (100 ft) of ice - the height of a ten-storey building-
for the ice to begin to deform under its own weight and start
moving.

Pulled by gravity, this ice flows in very slow motion, like plastic,
from the central core down into the valleys, in tongues or fingers
called glaciers. It takes about 150 years for the ice from the
Athabasca Glacier to flow from the icefield to the toe of the
Athabasca Glacier.











11 of the 22 highest peaks in the
Canadian Rockies are found in the
Columbia Icefield area

The highest peak in the Canadian Rockies is
Mt. Robson at 3,954 m (12,972 ft), located in
Mt. Robson Provincial Park, just west of Jasper.
  1. Mt. Columbia ...................... 3,747 m ....... 12,294 ft
  2. North Twin .......................... 3,730 m ....... 12,237 ft
  3. Mt. Alberta .......................... 3,619 m ....... 11,873 ft
  4. South Twin ........................... 3,580 m ...... 11,745 ft
  5. Mt. Athabasca ...................... 3,491 m .......11,453 ft
  6. Mt. King Edward .................. 3,490 m .......11,450 ft
  7. Mt. Kitchener ....................... 3,480 m ...... 11,417 ft
  8. Snow Dome ........................... 3,451 m ........11,322 ft
  9. Stutfield Peak ....................... 3,450 m ........11,319 ft
  10. Mt. Andromed ...................... 3,450 m ........11,319 ft
  11. Mt. Woolley ........................... 3,405 m ........11,171 ft