Hubbard Glacier

This tidewater glacier may be a bit of sleeping giant. Off the coast of Yakutat—200 miles NW of Juneau—Hubbard is certainly gigantic: it's more than six miles wide where it meets the ocean.

It’s also been very active in the past, having had two major surges in the past 30 years. Those surges were big enough to cross the bay, turning the fjord into a lake and threatening to flood the coastal town of Yakutat.

For now, the glacier isn’t surging, but you could say that it’s a pretty light sleeper— it does calve a lot. The face is up to 400 feet tall, and icebergs 3 to 4 stories in height aren’t uncommon.

Granted, most of that ice is below water, but the ice can be so thick that cruise ships can’t get too close. In the right conditions, however, your ship might be able to get within 1/2 mile of the face.

In this series of photos from June of 2002, Bruce Molnia of the USGS documented the advancing terminus of Hubbard Glacier and the channel cut into the top of its push moraine that blocked the mouth of Russell Fiord. A push moraine is sediment that, in this case, has been bulldozed from the floor of Russell Fiord by the advancing ice. In a few views, some of this sediment can be seen in contact with the bedrock on the wall of the fjord.

Getting There

Coordinates
Latitude: 60.31389
Longitude: -139.371