Watkins Glacier

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Watkins Glacier
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Watkins Glacier
Location in California
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Watkins Glacier
Watkins Glacier (the US)
Type Mountain glacier
Location Siskiyou County, California, United States
Coordinates 41°23′57″N122°10′38″W / 41.39917°N 122.17722°W / 41.39917; -122.17722 Coordinates: 41°23′57″N122°10′38″W / 41.39917°N 122.17722°W / 41.39917; -122.17722 [1]
Area .04 sq mi (0.10 km2)
Length .2 mi (0.32 km)
Terminus Moraine
Status Expanding

The Watkins Glacier is a glacier situated on the southeastern flank of Mount Shasta, in the U.S. state of California. It occupies a small cirque in the Clear Creek drainage. It is the smallest officially-named glacier on Mount Shasta, and it was not accorded that status until 1976, following a decades-long campaign by local resident R. Harry Watkins, Jr., to bring recognition to the previously-ignored glacier. [2]

Glacier Persistent body of ice that is moving under its own weight

A glacier is a persistent body of dense ice that is constantly moving under its own weight; it forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. Glaciers slowly deform and flow due to stresses induced by their weight, creating crevasses, seracs, and other distinguishing features. They also abrade rock and debris from their substrate to create landforms such as cirques and moraines. Glaciers form only on land and are distinct from the much thinner sea ice and lake ice that form on the surface of bodies of water.

Mount Shasta Stratovolcano in California, United States of America

Mount Shasta is a potentially active volcano at the southern end of the Cascade Range in Siskiyou County, California. At an elevation of 14,179 feet (4321.8 m), it is the second-highest peak in the Cascades and the fifth-highest in the state. Mount Shasta has an estimated volume of 85 cubic miles (350 km3), which makes it the most voluminous stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc. The mountain and surrounding area are part of the Shasta–Trinity National Forest.

The Watkins is one of three small cirque glaciers on the southern side of Shasta, along with the Konwakiton and Mud Creek Glaciers located about 1 mi (1.6 km) west. It has the lowest average elevation of any of Shasta's glaciers, extending only between 10,400 and 11,000 ft (3,200 and 3,400 m). [3]

Konwakiton Glacier glacier in the United States

The Konwakiton Glacier is a glacier situated on the southern flank of Mount Shasta, in the U.S. state of California. It occupies the head of a large cirque on the south side of Shasta's Misery Hill cone, just northeast of the prominent outcrop of Thumb Rock at about 11,500 ft (3,500 m). It is the fifth largest glacier on Mount Shasta, although less than one-third the size of any of the four larger ones. The Konwakiton is the most frequently visited of Shasta's glaciers, since the standard climbing route up Avalanche Gulch skirts along its western edge above Thumb Rock saddle, with the boot track often only a few feet from the bergschrund at the glacier's head.

Mud Creek Glacier glacier in the United States

The Mud Creek Glacier is the southernmost glacier on Mount Shasta in the U.S. state of California. It lies to the east of Sargents Ridge on Shastarama point near 10,915 feet (3,327 m) above sea level. The glacier is smaller than the northern ones on Mount Shasta such as Whitney, Hotlum, Bolam, and Wintun Glaciers. There are approximately 80 glaciers in California and unlike the glaciers in Alaska, Colorado and Montana. California’s existing current glaciers are not remnants of the Pleistocene, but instead relatively young approximately 1,000 years in age. The Mud Creek Glacier is one of at least 7 recognized glaciers on Mt. Shasta by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) the rest being: Whitney, Hotlum, Bolam, Wintun, Konwakiton, and Watkins.

In 2002, scientists made the first detailed survey of Mount Shasta's glaciers in 50 years. They found that seven of the glaciers (including the Watkins) have grown over the period 1951-2002, with the Hotlum and Wintun Glaciers nearly doubling, the Bolam Glacier increasing by half, and the Whitney and Konwakiton Glaciers growing by a third. [4] [5] [6]

Hotlum Glacier glacier on Mount Shasta in the United States

The Hotlum Glacier is a glacier situated on the northeast flank of Mount Shasta, in the US state of California. It is the largest and most voluminous glacier in California, although not as thick or long as the nearby Whitney Glacier. The Hotlum Glacier flows from a large cirque on the northeast side of Mount Shasta's main summit below the Hotlum Headwall at roughly 13,600 ft (4,100 m). It flows northeastward down the steep slope, forming three lobes which terminate near 10,400 ft (3,200 m).

Wintun Glacier glacier in the United States

The Wintun Glacier is a glacier situated on the eastern flank of Mount Shasta, in the U.S. state of California. It is both the third largest and third most voluminous glacier in California after the neighboring Hotlum Glacier and the Whitney Glacier. The Wintun Glacier starts on the east side of Mount Shasta's main summit, and it has the highest permanent snow and ice on the mountain, reaching above 14,100 ft (4,300 m) to within a few dozen feet of the true summit. The glacier flows east down a steep slope and terminates in two lobes, the longer of which extends down near 9,800 ft (3,000 m).

Bolam Glacier glacier in the United States

The Bolam Glacier is a glacier situated on the northern flank of Mount Shasta, in the U.S. state of California. It is the second longest glacier in California behind the nearby Whitney Glacier, and the fourth largest and most voluminous after the neighboring Hotlum Glacier, Whitney Glacier, and Wintun Glacier. The Bolam Glacier flows from a cirque on the north side of Mount Shasta's main summit, with the moving ice starting below a large bergschrund which spans the glacier at 12,600 ft (3,800 m). Above that, permanent snow and ice extends towards the summit to about 13,500 ft (4,100 m). The glacier flows north down a steep slope and terminates near 9,800 ft (3,000 m). It has a contributing drainage area of 1.03 km².

See also

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  1. "Watkins Glacier". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved 2012-09-30.
  2. "Existing Glaciers of Mount Shasta". College of the Siskiyous. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
  3. Google Earth elevation for GNIS coordinates
  4. Harris, Stephen L. (2005). Fire Mountains of the West: The Cascade and Mono Lake Volcanoes (3rd ed.). Mountain Press Publishing Company. p. 109. ISBN   0-87842-511-X.
  5. Wong, Kathleen. "California Glaciers". California Wild. California Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 2006-10-06. Retrieved 2007-01-23.
  6. Whitney, David (September 4, 2006). "A growing glacier: Mount Shasta bucks global trend, and researchers cite warming phenomena". The Bee. Archived from the original on 2007-01-21. Retrieved 2007-01-23.