PUBLISHED: 1:38 PM on Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Photo: Just chillin'
A harbor seal rests on an ice floe in the LeConte Glacier on Sept. 18. The LeConte Glacier is the southernmost active tidewater glacier on in the Northern hemisphere. Due to the 810-feet-deep water in the bay, the glacier calves instead of advancing, resulting in spectacular "shooters" and icebergs which make excellent seal habitat. Considered stable today, the glacier has retreated 2.5 miles since first charted in 1887. Petersburg High School students began measurements of the glacier in 1983. Results show the glacier generally moves forward in the spring after the cold winter weather decreases melting. In the fall, after warmer summer temperatures, it retreats. Roughly 21-miles long and one-mile wide, the LeConte Glacier rests at the head of the LeConte Glacier Bay, a 12-mile fjord carved out of the coastal mountain range over thousands of years. The bay is a breeding, birthing, and rearing area for harbor seals. LeConte Glacier is one of the few remnants of the vast ice sheets that covered much of North America during the Pleistocene age.

Klas Stolpe