Looking northeast towards Mendenhall Lake and Mendenhall Glacier.
The Mendenhall Glacier is one of many glaciers in the state of Alaska. The name Alaska comes from the Aleut word alyeska meaning "great land" and indeed it is a great land! Alaska is the northernmost, westernmost, easternmost, and largest of the 50 United States. Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America at 20,320 feet (6,194 meters), is located in Alaska. In addition to this there are about 100,000 glaciers covering 29,000 square miles (Garrett, 1985) in this great land!
The majority of these glaciers are located in southern Alaska where most of the precipitation falls. Southeastern Alaska extends from the Alexander Archipelago and the nearby mainland in the south at the U.S.-Canadian border northwestward to Icy Bay at the base of Mt. St. Elias. Southeast Alaska is part of the Inside Passage, famous for its glacier-carved fjords and mountainous coastline. The image to the left shows Southeast Alaska. Notice the Aleutian Trench offshore (the dark area nearly parallel to the coast). Southeast Alaska contains Alaska's two largest icefields: Juneau Icefield and Stikine Icefield, both straddling the Coast Mountains of Southeast Alaska and adjacent British Columbia.
Mendenhall Glacier is a small but interesting part of the Juneau Icefield. This virtual tour will take you soaring above the glacier as well as down to its icy surface so you can briefly see the wonders of a glaciated region.
Short Summary of Glaciation in Alaska
©1997 Linda Freeman