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Flash: ON   August 22, 2019 
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Scenic Park Bible Church
7145 Madelynne Drive
Anchorage, Alaska  99504
Phone: 333-1414
Contact Via Email

Activities - Knik Glacier I
Knik Glacier 

Knik Glacier is located about one hour by car from Anchorage.  It is a favorite place to camp, fish, hunt, and ride ATVs.  The glacier descends 28 miles from an elevation of more than 10,000 feet.  In places it is six miles wide and over 1000 feet thick.  More than half a dozen glacial cousins reside nearby, in a valley of jagged summits, alpine ridges, and braided rivers wandered by moose, bear and Dall sheep.  It is one of Alaska's grandest natural attractions.

Knik Glacier was once responsible for a major hydrologic phenomenon known as "The Breakout".  Every year until 1966, the glacier pushed its face up against the side of Mt. Palmer, creating an ice dam several miles long!  With the coming of spring, melt water from glaciers and streams would pour into Lake George, filling it up to 160 feet above normal!  The lake would grow to 25 square miles in area.

The breakout would begin in June when water would undercut the face of the ice dam, causing overhanging sections of ice, some as long as a city block and as tall as a 15-story building, to fall with thunderous crashes into the gorge below.  The rising lake water ate away at the face of the glacier where it touched Mount Palmer until a channel was cut through.

Once it started to flow, the water cut the channel into a gorge five miles long, 100 to 400 feet wide and 300 feet deep. The water flow through the gorge was as great as 150 million gallons per minute.  That is comparable to the flow in the Columbia River at floodstage.  This would occur for about two weeks, flooding the Knik valley and often closing the only highway going north out of Anchorage.

Since 1966, Lake George has not formed, and the gorge has remained open.  There seems to be no question about whether or not the Lake George breakout will occur again - it is just a question of when.

Knik Glacier has found its way to Hollywood, being featured in such movies as Star Trek V, Running Free, and music videos and commercials.  The glacier remains active, and even though its motion is imperceptible to the naked eye, it is in a constant state of change.
 
 
Click here to see a larger three-part version
of this panorama of the face of the glacier.

 
This is what Knik Glacier looks like from the air, and this view gives you an idea just how huge the glacier really is.

A close-up look   It is a challenge to make it to the face of the glacier before the various rivers that must be crossed become too high with spring runoff.  To see some pictures from just such a trip, click on Knik Glacier II.

Click here to view pictures of the Knik River Valley.


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