Glaciers cover over 35,000-square miles of the U.S., most are located in Alaska, which holds about 34,000-square miles of glacial ice. Across Alaska there are 616 officially-named glaciers, with many more unnamed glaciers filling the cliffs and valleys of our great mountain ranges. Estimates are that Alaska has 100,000 glaciers (50 of them tidewater), with about 1,000 glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve alone. Glaciers retain about 69% of the world's fresh water.
The world's oldest ice is in Antarctica, approaching 1,000,000-years old, with Greenland's oldest ice being more than 100,000-years old. The oldest ice ever recovered in Alaska from a basin between Mt. Bona (at 16,550 feet- the highest volcano in the US) and Mt. Churchill (at 15,638 ft.-also a stratovolcano) is about 30,000-years old. Both volcanoes are located inside the 13.2 million acre Wrangell-Mt. Saint Elias National Park and Preserve in eastern Alaska.
North America's longest glacier is the great Bering Glacier, a span of ice 118-miles long, born in the Bagley Icefield in the Eastern Chugach Mountains-Wrangell-St. Elias Wilderness and terminating just six miles from the Gulf of Alaska. These great tongues of "Blue Ice" are the carvers and shapers of the land, forming and grinding down the mountains and valleys to the deltas and seas.
All images © Dave Parkhurst www.TheAlaskaCollection.com