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Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

National Seafloor Mapping and Benthic Habitat Studies


Marine Geology of Benthic Biohabitats in Glacier Bay, Alaska

Glacier Bay Study Area Map

Glacier Bay Study Area Map

Glacier Bay National Park in southeastern Alaska, was proclaimed a National Monument in 1925, and was upgraded to National Park status in 1980. This 3.3 million acre park and preserve extends from Icy Strait on the south to Dry Bay in the northwest. In the past 200 years, retreat of the large glacier that had filled Glacier Bay during late Neoglacial time (a time referred to as the Little Ice Age) exposed an extensive fjord system about 100 km long from Icy Strait to the terminus of Johns Hopkins and Grand Pacific Glaciers in the West Arm and slightly less to Muir Glacier at the head of Muir Inlet to the east. This spectacular fjord system is the product of multiple glaciations over the past 100,000 years, or longer. As the most recent large glacier retreated, the newly exposed terrain and fjords have been undergoing rapid physical and biological transformations. Because of the rapid changes, this national park is a spectacular scientific laboratory in which to study glaciology, fjord sedimentation, succession of terrestrial plants, and changes in terrestrial and marine biological communities. This study deals with bays and inlets in the lower 30 km of the main bay, an area between Drake and Francis Islands and another in the Sitakaday Narrows region.


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Page Last Modified: 2 July 2009 (lzt)