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North America

Taku Glacier

Photo by Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Taku Glacier is a tidewater glacier located in Taku Inlet in Alaska, just southeast of the city of Juneau. Recognized as the deepest and thickest alpine temperate glacier known in the world, the Taku Glacier is measured at 4,845 feet thick. It is about 36 miles long and is largely within the Tongass National Forest.

The glacier was originally named Schultze Glacier in 1883 and then the Foster Glacier in 1890, but Taku, the name the local Tlingit natives had for the glacier, eventually stuck. It is nestled in the Coast Mountains and originates in the Juneau Icefield. It’s the largest glacier in the icefield and one of the southernmost tidewater glaciers of the northern hemisphere.

Due to the positive mass balance, more snow currently accumulating than snow and ice melt, and the fact that it was no longer losing mass to icebergs, Taku Glacier has become insensitive to the warming that has impacted all other glaciers of the icefield. This has driven its advance.

We were able to get a bird’s eye view of the glacier as we traveled by helicopter with North Star Trekking en route to our dog sledding excursion during our Carnival Legend stop in Juneau. This photo gives you an idea of how massive this glacier really is.

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