National Geographic : 1891 May 29
Canoeing among Icebergs. has been extended by the action of the waves and tides until a beach a hundred feet in length has been deposited. The dash ing of the bowlders and sand against the cliffs at the head of the cove by the incoming waves has increased its extension in that direction so as to form a well-sheltered refuge. The absence of beaches on other portions of the island is due to the fact that its bordering precipices descend abruptly into deep water, and do not admit of the accumulation of debris about their bases. With out stones and sand with which the waves can work, the excava tion of terraces is an exceedingly slow operation. The precipitous nature of the borders of the island is due, to some extent at least, to the abrasion of the rocks by the glacial ice which once encir cled it. Pulling our canoe far up on the beach, we began the ascent of the cliffs. Hundreds of sea birds, startled from their nests by our intrusion, circled fearlessly about our heads and filled the air with their wild cries. The more exposed portions of the slopes were bare of vegetation, but in the shelter of every depres sion dense thickets obstructed the way. Many of the little basins between the rounded knolls hold tarns of fresh water, and were occupied at the time of our visit by flocks of gray geese. It is evident that the island was intensely glaciated at no distant day. The surfaces of its rounded domes are so smoothly polished that they glitter like mirrors in the sunlight. On the polished sur faces there are deep grooves and fine, hair-like lines, made by the stones set in the bottom of the glacier which once flowed over the island and removed all of the rocks that were not firm and hard. On many of the domes of sandstone there rest bowlders of a different character, which have evidently been brought from the mountains toward the northeast. The summit of the island is about 800 feet above the level of the sea, and, like its sides, is polished and striated. The terraces on the mountains of the mainland show that the glacier which formerly flowed out from Disenchantment bay must have been fully 2,000 feet deep. The bed it occupied toward the south is now flooded by the waters of Yakutat bay. At the time of Malaspina's visit, 100 years ago, the glaciers from the north reached Haenke island, and surrounded it on three sidess* At the rate of retreat indicated by comparing *The map accompanying Malaspina's report and indicating these condi tions has already been mentioned, and is reproduced on plate 7, page 68.
1892 Feb 19