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Retreat of BC's Bear Glacier, 1975 - 2015


Images of Stewart, BC
    Photos of the Bear Glacier as seen from the edge of the road in 1975, 1991, 2002, 2008, and 2015 show the dramatic retreat of this glacier. It used to fill the whole valley, but in the 1940s it began to retreat rapidly. Strohn Lake formed in the basin left behind, dammed by the remaining ice. The lake would ocassionally break through the glacial dam, causing catastrophic flooding downstream. This is known as a jökulhlaup, the Icelandic term for the event - between 1958 and 1962, there were five jökulhlaups here, and the damage can still be seen right to Stewart. By 1967, the glacier had retreated far enough that the lake was no longer dammed.
    More photos illustrating Bear Glacier's retreat can be seen at GlacierChange.org, and even Google Earth images from 2010 and 2013 show a big change.
    Some Bear Glacier trivia - the cabin in the climax of the movie "Insomnia" was built on the shore of Strohn Lake.

These photographs are © 1975-2015 by Murray Lundberg, and are not to be copied without express permission.
The Bear Glacier, Stewart, BC, in 1975

1975, June


The Bear Glacier, Stewart, BC, in 1991

1991, June


The Bear Glacier, Stewart, BC, in 2002

2002, September


The Bear Glacier, Stewart, BC, in 2008

2008, April


The Bear Glacier, Stewart, BC, in 2015

2015, October






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