National Geographic : 1911 Jun
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY RESEARCHES IN ALASKA BY LAWRENCE MARTIN LEADER OF THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY'S 1910 EXPEDITION TO ALASKA The Research Committee of the National Geographic Society has made an appropriation of $5,000 from the research fund to continue the studies of the Alaska glaciers which were conducted by the Society in 1909 and 1910. The work this year is in charge of Prof. Ralph S. Tarr, of Cornell University, and Prof. Lawrence Martin, of the University of Wisconsin. These gentlemen were also in charge of the work in 19o0, but in 1910 Professor Tarr had engagements in Europe, so that the entire work of that summer rested upon Professor Martin. An account of the National Geographic Society's 190o expedition to Alaska was printed in the January, 1o10, number of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE. D URING the summer of 1910 nearly four months were devoted to a continuation of the glacier studies commenced in 1909 under the di rection of the Research Committee of the National Geographic Society. It is for tunate that this fund is available just at the time when unusual activity of gla ciers in Alaska is in progress. The gla ciers are now so active that it is perhaps the opportunity of a century or more. The field investigated in 1910 was Prince William Sound, but a two weeks' visit was made to Yakutat Bay in June to record the latest news from the un usually interesting active glaciers there, and a fortnight at the end of the season was devoted to the glaciers of the lower Copper River. The party consisted of seven men the author; W. B. Lewis, of the U. S. Geological Survey, topographer; E. F. Bean and F. E. Williams, of the Univer sity of Wisconsin, the former taking charge of the sounding and weather rec ords, the latter acting as rodman; E. A. Connor and R. F. Byers, of the Univer sity of Washington, respectively boat engineer and photographer, and a Japa nese cook. F. M. O'Neill, of Memphis, Tennessee, was also employed as engineer the latter part of the season. We started May 28 and were gone until Sept. 23. One of the large glaciers in Yakutat Bay, the Nunatak, had changed a great deal since the year before. It had ad vanced decidedly, different parts of its front having come out 700 to 1,000 feet up to June 17, 1910. From 1890 to 1909 the Nunatak Glacier receded steadily, going back over two miles and a half in this time. We had anticipated that it would eventually advance, however, as was predicted in the NATIONAL GEO GRAPHIC MAGAZINE for January, 1910, and the forward movement commenced between July 6, 1909, and June, 1910. This was due to the accession of un usually large quantities of snow to the reservoirs of this glacier by avalanches during the 26 days of severe earthquakes of September, 1899. The Nunatak was the ninth glacier in the Yakutat Bay region to respond since 1899 to this new cause for glacier ad vances in mountain regions. Their re sponses have come after a certain delay, dependent in part upon the length of the glacier, as the accompanying table shows. Glacier. Date of advance. Length of glacier. Galiano .............. After 1895 and 2 or 3 miles. before 1905 Unnamed glacier..... 1901 3 or 4 miles. Haenke.............. 1905-6 6 or 7 miles. Atrevida ................ 1905-6 8 miles. Variegated............ 1905-6 Io miles. Marvine ............ ... 1905-6 o miles.* Hidden ........ ........ 1906 or 7 6 or 17 miles. Lucia .................. 1909 17 or 18 miles. Nunatak .............. 1910 20 miles. * Excluding expanded lobe in Malaspina.