National Geographic : 1891 May 29
The Piedmont Platcau and the Mountains. The lowlands bordering Yakutat bay on the southeast are composed of assorted glacial debris. Much of the country is low and swampy, and is reported to contain numerous lakelets. Northwest of the bay the plateau is higher than toward the southeast, and has a general elevation of about 500 feet at a dis tance of a mile from the shore; but the height increases toward the interior, where a general elevation of 1,500 feet is attained over large areas.. All of this plateau, excepting a narrow fringe along the shore, is formed by a great glacier, belonging to what is termed in this paper the Piedmont type. There are many reasons for believing that the plateau southeast of Yakutat bay was at one time covered by a glacier similar to the one now ex isting on the northwest.* The mountains on the northern border of the seaward-stretch ing table-lands, both southeast and northwest of Yakutat bay, are abrupt and present steep southward-facing bluffs. This escarpment is formed of stratified sandstones and shales, and owes its origin to the upheaval of the rocks along a line of frac ture. In other words, it is a gigantic fault scarp. The gravel and bowlders forming the plateau extending oceanward have been accumulating on a depressed orographic block (or mass of strata moved as a unit by mountain-making forces), which has undergone some movement in very recent times, as is recorded by a terrace on the fault,scarp bordering it. West of Yakutat the. geological structure is more complex, and long mountain spurs project into the platform of ice skirting the ocean. Filling the valleys between the mountain spurs, there are many large seaward-flowing glaciers, tributary to the great Peidmont ice sheet. This brief sketch of the geography of Yakutat bay, together with the accompanying outline map of Alaska (plate 2), will, it is hoped, aid in making intelligible the following historical sketch and the narrative of the present expedition. * This matter will be discussed in part IV of this paper, where it is also shown that Yakutat bay itself was formerly occupied by glacial ice.
1892 Feb 19